SAN BERNARDINO – A gang member, accused of a 2011 shooting that took the life of a three-year-old girl, was convicted of the crime last week.
Authorities said this week that the sentence for Brandon Taray Barnes, 21, will be held on March 28. Barnes could face multiple life terms after a jury reached the conclusion, announced last Friday in San Bernardino County Superior Court. His conviction includes one count of murder and seven counts of attempted murder. Nylah Franco-Torrez was killed while a three-year-old cousin and her pregnant aunt injured during the shooting on Sept. 12, 2011.
Police said the confrontation began when Nylah’s uncle, Jerry Howie, witnessed Barnes beating a woman at a residence around the corner. The woman escaped the beating, said police, when Howie intervened.
About one hour later, while Howie and his family gathered on their front porch, with Nylah playing in the front yard, Barnes walked past the property and began shooting at the home in the 1300 block on North D Street. Howie’s three-year-old daughter, Justine, survived the shots, along with La-Donna Howie, who was five months pregnant. She was struck in the neck and jaw, but the fetus was not injured. Howie’s niece Nylah, however, was killed.
Three days later, police arrested Barnes, who did not testify during his trial, though his statements to police were played for the jury. He admitted firing the shots but told investigators he was trying to shoot over the house. The bullet strikes, meanwhile, were directly into the house, said reports.
Investigators determined that the shooting was not gang-related, but merely a reaction to Howie, who was not struck by any of the shots, for putting a stop to the earlier beating.
The shooting received a great deal of local and regional publicity, including plenty of attention on Los Angeles-area TV news stations.
Press Enterprise: Man convicted of murdering 3-year-old