The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

May 10, 2013

Barrett found guilty of murder; sentenced to 99 years

By MARY RAINWATER
Palestine Herald-Press

PALESTINE — It took just under a half-hour for the five-woman, eight-man jury to find Montalba resident Noble Lee Barrett Jr. guilty of murder on Friday for the beating death of his wife. It took less than 10 minutes for that same jury to sentence him to 99 years in prison and a fine of $10,000.

Barrett, 54, was accused of the murder of his wife of nine months, Beverly Carey Barrett, after he administered blunt force blows to her head with a homemade club at the couple’s residence in the 1500 block of FM 321 on Dec. 3, 2011, resulting in her  death.

Friday’s proceedings began with closing arguments from the state, represented by Anderson County assistant district attorneys Elizabeth Watkins and Scott Holden and the defense, represented by Palestine attorney William House Jr.

Watkins’ arguments touched on some of the defendant’s statements made in a video interview with law enforcement, where he repeatedly asked officers if they had found the evidence.

“‘If you haven’t found any evidence, then I’m not saying nothing,’ is what he told the officers,” she said. “And under his breath you can hear him say, ‘I know you didn’t go to the house.’”

At that point, Watkins said, Noble Barrett started talking about the driveway and front yard — a tactic she noted he was using to point investigators everywhere but to the scene of the crime.

“He was trying to point them as far away from the evidence as possible,” she said.

Watkins later replayed for the jury several calls made to 911 on the day of Beverly Barrett’s death — the first call made by the victim.

“I need an officer. Please hurry,” Beverly Barrett stated on the recording before the phone was hung up. A callback attempt was made by dispatchers, but was not answered.

Another callback, which was answered but only contained background voices, was enhanced to reveal words of the defendant.

“I am going to bust your (expletive) head open,” Noble Barrett was heard saying on the recording. “Lay down! Lay down!”

Also heard were what Watkins pointed out to be the likely last breaths of Beverly Barrett.

“No one deserves to die like that,” Watkins said. “No one deserves that.”

House’s arguments focused on the source of the 911 calls made on the day of Beverly Barrett’s death and the use of Blue Star spray in detecting possible blood on Noble Barrett’s clothes.

“While at (neighbor Linda) Wickware’s house, Noble Barrett was in and out several times,” House said. “When Mr. Barrett told investigators that he though is wife had fallen, that is what he thought had happened because he was not there.”

House urged the jury to look closely at the evidence — particularly at the DNA findings and at phone records.

“There was no scientific evidence behind the ‘magic’ spray,” House said, referring to the Blue Star. “It was all ‘believed to be blood’ or ‘suspected blood.’

“All that has to be done in a lab, not with ‘magic’ spray or ‘magic’ cameras.”

Beverly Barrett’s daughter Sherella Watson gave a brief victim impact statement after Noble Barrett’s sentencing.

“On behalf of the family, I want to say that because of your cowardly actions, you have selfishly and single-handedly taken a daughter from a mother, a mother from children, a grandmother from grandchildren and a sister from brothers and sisters,” Watson said. “The day God decides to remove you from this world cannot come fast enough for us.”

349th State District Judge Pam Foster Fletcher presided over the trial. Noble Barrett has exercised his right to appeal the verdict, with House being appointed as his attorney in the appeals process.

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Mary Rainwater may be reached via e-mail at mrainwater@palestineherald.com