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The Kingsport Times

KINGSPORT, TENNESSEE, SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 5, 1928

BARNETT AGAIN DRAWS LIFE TERM
FOR FRAZIER CRIME

SECOND TRIAL OF KILLER COMES TO
SAME CLIMAX

John Barnett Found Guilty of Killing Creed and Will Frazier 
in Separate Trial at Gate City

DEFENSE SEAKING TO SET ASIDE VERDICT

Judge Will Pass Upon Sentence and Hear Motions
of the Defense Tuesday of This Week

By THOS. C. HARRIS
Times Staff Reporter

 

GATE CITY, Va., -Feb. 4.—A special jury from Lee county hearing the case of John Barnett, charged with the murder of Will Frazier, tonight returned a verdict of guilty of first degree murder and recommended life imprisonment, following the first night session ever held by circuit court in Scott County.

     The verdict and recommendation of sentence was returned after 50 minutes deliberation by the jury, the case being passed into it’s hands at 9:00 o’clock and the verdict being rendered at 9:50 o’clock. It was the second time at this session of court that Barnett had been found guilty of first degree murder and the same sentence recommended. Last week the verdict of first degree murder was returned against him for the fatal shooting of Creed Frazier, Will's father.

First Night Session

     It was the first time in the history of the court that a night session was held in order to finish the hearing of a case. The commonwealth, finished its presentment of witnesses yesterday and the defense today. Practically all of the time at the night session was used by both prosecution and defense for the argument of the case before the jury.

     From beginning to end the second trial was almost an exact duplication of the first. Practically without deviation the same witnesses were presented by the prosecution and the same tale of threats and of the actual shooting told by them. The same verdict and the same recommendation of sentence was returned in both cases. In both cases the defense made motion to set aside the verdicts and grant Barnett a new trial. Judge E. P. Carter, who presided over the court during both trials, has set aside next Tuesday as the day on which he will se the sentences and heat the arguments of motions.

     Eye witnesses of the tragedy told a story of events leading up the fatal shooting of the two Fraziers, of the actual shooting and of Barnett's actions after the men were shot down, that is unsurpassed for a recital of unreasoning anger and bitter hate, culminating in the death of the Fraziers at the hands of Barnett.

According to their testimony there was an argument between Barnett and the Fraziers over a certain tract of timber land. They said that Barnett had threatened that day to kill Will Frazier, even if he had to go to Will's house to do it, he had said. Roy Frazier, brother of Will and son of Creed, had reasoned with Barnett and had gotten him to agree to an amicable settlement of the quarrel, if he could get Will to return to the sawmill which the Fraziers had been using logging operations, and apologize to Barnett for remarks that Barnett said Will had made about him earlier in the day.

Return to Mill

     Roy found Will a little distance from the mill in the company of Creed and Creed's brother, Mahon, and the four of them returned to the mill. As theycame in sight of the mill, Barnett opened fire on them with a high power rifle, instantly killing Will and fatally wounding Creed. Witnesses also told how Barnett stood over the fallen Creed, as he lay dying, and said, G— D— him, if he hasn't got enough and don't stop wiggling around, I'll give him some more."

     Barnett denied that he had threatened the Fraziers and said that he had shot them because they were armed and that they had appeared as if they were going to open fire on him as they approached the mill, both times that he took the stand.

     The shooting took place at a sawmill about four miles west of Speers Ferry on last September 20.

 

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