Thursday, October 30, 2008

Barger not guilty of first-degree murder

☛ TS Jury: Barger not guilty of first-degree murder

After nearly four days of deliberations, a jury found 23-year-old David Gabriel Barger not guilty of the first-degree murder of Rex Shinn, who was shot in the head on a Southern Humboldt County pot farm in 2003.

The jury could not agree on the lesser count of second-degree murder, and ultimately hung with eight of the 12 jurors in favor of his acquittal.

Barger was found guilty of vehicle theft for taking and hiding a truck that belonged to Shinn.

...Following the verdict, juror No. 1, who deliberated in the case, said she was unhappy with the outcome, but because the prosecution did not produce enough compelling evidence, the jury had no choice but to find there was reasonable doubt Barger committed the murder.

”It's very upsetting the evidence wasn't better,” juror No. 1 said. “It wasn't fair to the whole jury because of the evidence. They didn't give us enough.”

...witnesses were granted immunity for their involvement in the marijuana growing operation, and juror No. 1 said this was a primary concern during deliberation.

”Maybe if they had a witness without immunity it might have been more believable,” she said.
Gallegos said he understands the jurors' concerns.

”This murder revolved around a marijuana grow. If we don't grant immunity, those people won't talk, so we have no evidence,” Gallegos said. “It doesn't feel good to us either. But in the spectrum of wrongs, the person pulling the trigger is a lot worse than the others.”

Barger was returned to the Humboldt County jail, and awaits sentencing for the vehicle theft.
He is scheduled to return to court for a pretrial hearing on the second-degree murder charge Nov. 18.

Related coverage:
☛ ER Preliminary hearing in murder/attempted murder case continued
☛ HCSO Date Released: Sheriff's Press Release 8/28/2003
☛ TS Barger murder trial to begin this week
☛ ER David Barger arraigned on 2003 murder 3/27/07
☛ ER Barger cases scheduled for hearing 4/11/07
☛ ER Preliminary hearing continued 7/3/07
☛ JN Marijuana crime 12/25/03
Previous Posts:
a 2003 murder case
Barger murder trial to begin this week
Barger not guilty of first-degree murder


  1. Rose,
    You probably should have placed the words "not guilty" in quotation marks. Just because the DA's office was unsuccessful in obtaining a just verdict does not necessarily mean the defendant is innocent homicide.

    Now if Barger were a current or former member of law enforcement, we can be sure more effort would have been exerted.

  2. The story about this in the Times-Standard made it seem like an open and shut case. Because I had read the lengthy story more than once, I was rejected by the court to serve on the jury. The guy was on speed (reportedly) and there were witnesses that heard the gunshot, the two pot growers helped burry the body. Others in the stolen vehicle reported that Burges returned to the truck without Shinn (the driver and owner of the truck who was killed), they said they heard the gun shot and Burges seemed nervous and said "snitches live in ditches"
    It is good I wasn't on the jury because from what I read, this guy seemed like a cold blooded murderer. If he did it, and I think he did, I hope they get him on the second degree charge.

  3. did you read this?10/30/2008 9:56 PM

    The Comments section
    "good flippin job. kill a dude at a 100 lighter, greenhouse, and meth lab, then burry him under the pig pen, and get charged with auto theft? WOW"

    "hey justice system what about Larry Amterdam. they let his killers off with immunity too. only ones who went to jail on that one was people who hid the body and werent smart enough to get the amunity deal.
    time to re-think just about everything"

    "Murder,the natural end result of Humboldt POT anything, is not a surprise.
    Humboldt County legal system is just an extension of the same order.
    What did you expect from a corrupt economy?
    You got it, Murder is legal in this county. As long as it involves POT."

    "The Jury knows the truth, they just couldn't justify saying guilty without more crucial evidence. The Investigators worked their asses off on this case and the prosecutor didn't do them justice. I hope I never serve on another jury panel, It was HORRIBLE. He deserves to be locked up for a long time."

    ”It's very upsetting the evidence wasn't better,” juror No. 1 said.“It wasn't fair to the whole jury because of the evidence. They didn't give us enough.”

    So what's new, that office can't convict squat. It is a total disaster. Murderers given plea bargains for probation, cases that they can't put the evidence together. This verdict was predictable given the total breakdown of the system in this county. Thank you Gallegos for another screaming loss."

    "What a disgrace! How exactly is the District Attorney serving the people? Not very well, apparently. And the statement to the effect that "they won't testify unless we grant them immunity" is just plain stupid -- you SUBPOENA them to testify, and then when they won't, you put them in JAIL, and then they may be willing to obey a COURT ORDER. Where did Gallegos get the law degree?**** Jacks or Law Degree On Line class?"

    "And the House of Cards comes tumbling down."

    "Actually the whole lot of them deserves to be in the hole under the pig pen."

    "This jury voted 8 - 4 to acquit. This case is over."

    "To all those who believe the jury made the wrong decision, you were not at the trial and you did not hear all the evidence!!! I was an alternate juror in the case and the bottom line is, the case wasn't proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Furthermore, all you critics of the verdict have to go on is what was reported in the newpaper and hear-say, which is no where near accurate!
    Maybe those of you who are so certain Barger is "guilty beyond a reasonable doubt" should go to the next trial and hear the evidence for yourself!"

    "I think Humboldt County needs a new DA. This guy has to be the Barney Fife of lawyerin'."

    "I'll bet the pot grower did not go out of business. He must have paid someone real well for not being charged as a enabler.
    RIP REX !!!!!
    Abuse of a corpse.. for sure.
    Lying to Law Enforcement for a year..
    DA must be recalled.
    I can-not believe this.."

    "The pot industry murdered him and every darn person who sits silent and benefits from the pot industry. This is why the normal folks in Mendo and Trinity got **** and have said "no more." Folks, you can't have it both ways. Choose pot and criminality and violence OR say not and take back your community. It is as simple as that."

    "So sorry to hear this verdict and fearfull for the non violent people and their families who were dragged into this case.
    This is a disapoinment. Those of you who know Barger also know this will place EVERYONE at risk."

    "Can someone please post a link to a picture of Barger, or "Sequoia", the name he was going by a couple of years ago when the Humboldt Sheriff chased him down on foot while he had an unregistered loaded handgun in his pants in Eureka. I would like to know what this guy looks like for my own safety. Thank you."

    "Why neither Eureka newspaper has focused on this in terms of the others involved getting off "Scott" free re: their connection to Rex's murder. I mean, charged with NOTHING? Really? Just from their own testimony there is plenty of things to question them ALL over seperately this time."

    I was a juror and have to ask, speaking of those who "know Barger," why didn't the DA call any of the people who he was reported to have confessed to regarding the murder OTHER THAN a jailhouse snitch who got out of a felony and prison time due to his cooperation? Really, there wasn't ANYONE else to call at all other than him or the other two that were there when Rex was killed and could have also easily shot Rex (and certainly wouldn't confess anything on the stand that might put them in Barger's place)?

    What about calling the other two passengers who were along for the ride in the truck? What about calling Rex's wife who spent multiple nights in bongo's bed following the murder (according to Bongo's testimony)? No video of the layout of the crime scene/farm so the jury could piece together if the stories made sense? Not one picture of anything other that a picture of Rex's credit card and driver's license? Not one copy of the dozens of police interviews put into evidence? There was a reinactment of the crime starring bongo. No tape? Come on!

    The defense atty didn't have to defend Barger because the DA did the job. Or maybe the DA thinks the people of Humbolt county don't require things like evidence and non-compensated testimony.

    The experience of sitting on that jury was amazingly frustrating. When they both rested their cases I wanted to stand up and yell, "are you freaking KIDDING me?!"

  4. Here's another brilliant job of prosecution.
    Interviews with numerous legal experts suggest that Colorado US Attorney Troy Eid misled reporters and diverged from state law when declining to prosecute any of the three men arrested in Denver for threatening to assassinate Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama.

    Eid, who was appointed by President George W. Bush in 2006, declined to prosecute the three men on charges of threatening to assassinate Barack Obama during his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention, saying that the suspects were "just a bunch of meth heads" and their words failed to meet the legal standard for "true threat."

    "When you talk about threatening presidential candidates, there's a legal standard you got to meet," Eid told reporters. "It's got to be a credible threat as defined by the law. And that means that someone has a way to carry it out. And at this time we don't have sufficient evidence that there was a true threat."

  5. We may not like it, Tom, but that's always been true - it is also true for women who are threatened by stalkers or violent spouses, until they DO something, police cannot act.

    Like the Palin hanging in effigy - but that's just "Free Speech" right.

  6. Tom - where did you get that information? This is why I am asking. The Colo U.S. Attorney has nothing really to do in enforcing state law, but only federal law. So the reference that he misled reporters and diverged from state law when declining to prosecute any of the three men arrested in Denver for threatening to assassinate Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama” simply makes no sense. It would be up to the local district attorney to prosecute these creeps if state law provided for it. It would be up to the U.S. Attorney if it were a federal law violated. What is your source? Maybe they got it wrong? Actually, I have heard absolutely nothing about the incident and just curious. If you are going to imply that there is some federal conspiracy to let Senator Obama get hurt, you really had better back that up. If not, it is simply the same old conspiracy type theories that the vast majority of us have grown sick at listening to.

  7. ok - looked it up and now know what you are talking about. Tom, you and other bloggers can blow anything you want out of proportion but you sound like a bit of a nut saying the sky is falling.

    Here is what I found on the ap on this -

    Here is an excerpt from the bbc:

    "Three men arrested on weapons and drugs charges in the US state of Colorado were not involved in a credible plan to kill Barack Obama, officials have said.
    US Attorney Troy Eid said investigators had found "insufficient evidence of any kind of plot or threat" among the men.
    Mr Eid said the threat instead appeared to have been the product of the "racist rantings" of methamphetamine addicts.
    Earlier, one of the suspects said his friends may have wanted to shoot Mr Obama at the Democratic convention.
    The Illinois senator is set to be nominated as the party's candidate for the US presidency at the gathering in Denver this week.
    'True threat'
    Speaking at a news conference in the city, Mr Eid said the three "meth heads" arrested on Sunday had not posed a "true threat" to Mr Obama because they simply would not have been capable.

    "The alleged threats, hateful and bigoted though they were, involved a group of… methamphetamine abusers, all of whom were impaired at the time," he said.
    "The evidence involving the alleged threats does not warrant federal charges now. I must tell you though that the investigation is still ongoing and we are all keeping an open mind," he added.
    "From a legal standpoint, the law recognizes a difference between what we call a 'true threat' - that's one that can actually be carried out - and the recorded racist rantings of drug abusers."
    The investigation into the alleged plot was triggered after police in the Denver suburb of Aurora stopped a rented truck that was swerving erratically in the early hours of Sunday.
    Police said they had found two rifles, two wigs, camouflage clothing, a bullet-proof vest and two walkie-talkies in the truck.
    They said they had also found three IDs in other people's names, as well as methamphetamine.
    Television interview
    The first suspect, 28-year-old Tharin Gartrell, was held on Sunday morning in Aurora after he was stopped by police for driving erratically in the truck.

    Mr Gartrell's alleged associate, Nathan Johnson, 32, was arrested shortly afterwards.
    The third man was held after jumping from a sixth-floor hotel window. Reports say Shawn Robert Adolf, 33, broke his ankle and was taken to a hospital for treatment.
    In a rambling interview in prison to CBS News, Mr Johnson first denied there had been any plot to kill Mr Obama.
    But Mr Johnson, who admits to using the drug methamphetamine, then conceded that Mr Gartrell and Mr Adolf may have had such plans.
    He also said that Shawn Robert Adolf had said in the past that "he didn't believe a black should be a leader of this country".

    Now I am disgusted with all violence and any person who wishes harm on another. But haven't we learned anything even by our own local DA that you actually have to have the law and facts to prosecute someone?

    So you have 2-3 druggies who are racist sitting around shooting their stupid mouths off. That is not the same as forming a plan to kill someone. It just isn't. - no matter how disguted we are about them. I think from what I read is that there was 1) no attempt at all and no plan and 2) no credible threat to kill.

  8. sounds a bit like the pot head rantings of humboldt watershed councile

  9. Anyone who blames Max Cardoza is ignorant.

    Goes to show, Most murder trials that are solid, plead. Murder trials that are marginal, go to trial.

    No one can every accuse Max of being ill-prepared or incompetent. If he couldn't win it, the case could not be won.

  10. No one has blamed Max, speculation is that Max would not have brought this case if he had a choice, the immunity is laid at Gallegos' feet, like the weird polygraphs in other cases.

    Happy Halloween.

  11. A guy got shot in his head, Rose. How can you not bring that??? Don't be ridiculous. There are cases that you need to bring; put a guy on trial. If you lose, it happens. Barger needed to be tried. He beat it. You could try a better case?

  12. Why don't you ask if any of the former DDA's in Farmer's office could have won it. I'd be interested in hearing.

    Just b/c the trial was lost, does not mean PVG's office was incompentent.

    Personally, I'd love to hear some idiot say that Max didn't do a good job.

    You know, it happens.

    Max made an offer (OH GOD, A PLEA DEAL), but it was refused. C'mon Rose. Why don't you, or any of the others, try the case...

  13. help's dark in here.

  14. Let's hear it: Anyone in the Terry Farmer admin. could have won this trial, just like Dowdy?!?!?!?

    This is the most knee-jerk, ill-thought-out site ever.

    I know it pains people, but there are some good DDA's in the office. None-the-less, you want to dump Barger on PVG.

    Were you to look up the rules of evidence, you'd know that Max did what he had to do and put on the best trial he could.

  15. Also, Rose, tell me: How do you make people testify without giving them immunity?

    The Constitution is a burden sometimes, but it protects criminals who don't want to testify. If a witness is called, and the lawyer triggers the 5th, you have to give immunity, provided there aren't any prior statements (or, even if there are).

    I'd love to hear what you would have done different.

  16. Parenthetically, I'd love to hear how you would have won Gunderson. Or maybe, that case shouldn't have been filed either.

  17. Anon.R.mous said...
    help's dark in here.

    11/01/2008 2:47 AM

    You're a day late, my ghostly friend. :) How the heck are ya?

  18. Anon is dead, so that can't be him.

  19. Hey 7:19pm and 4:17 am: Problem is not with the individual attorney here, but his leader - Gallegos the idiot. Shinn was murdered. Problem is who murdered him? You don't bring cases to trial because of the crime itself, but because you have the evidence to convict. Or so I used to think until the last couple of years with Gallegos who makes one lame decision after the next.

    The jury heard all of the evidence and said that there was not evidence to convict the guy of squat. They also said that they couldn’t consider the testimony of the immunized witnesses because they could have committed the crime themselves and were credible. This is the problem and why the case should never have gone to trial. No credible evidence to convict means just that. But, you have a desperate DA who can’t evaluate cases at all. Maybe he thought that Cardoza could make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. Looks like crap will always be crap no matter how you dress it up and this case was crap.

    And my call on this is that you plea bargain the shitty cases and take the good ones to trial NOT vice versa. Maybe this guy did not accept a plea bargain because he didn't do the crime or there was absolutely no credible evidence he did the crime. Ever thought of that one?

    And if I recall, Cardoza was a Farmer prosecutor.

  20. sorry typo to the above.

    Should read: They also said that they couldn’t consider the testimony of the immunized witnesses because they could have committed the crime themselves and were NOT credible.

  21. I've been on vacation and missed this verdict. Wow, another PVG loser. I had read all that was in the paper and had a fair grasp on the facts. It never made sense to me that Barger did it. The immunized witness "gave" the murder weapon to Barger a couple of weeks before the killing!!!!???? The immunized witness was the big time pot grower, the killing was on his property, he buried the body without Barger even helping!!!??? And how long did he wait to tell the cops??? Sounds like he told them Barger did it when they were focusing in on him. Maybe PVG is just to blame for taking a lame case like this to trial? It does not appear as if the case was investigated very well.


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