TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA — Governor Ron DeSantis signed a death warrant on Thursday for James Phillip Barnes, a Brevard County man who was convicted of murdering two women.
Barnes was sentenced to death in 2007 for the 1988 murder of Patricia Miller. He also murdered his wife in 1997.
On the night of the murder, Barnes broke into Miller’s condo in Melbourne and raped her at knifepoint. He then bound her hands and feet and proceeded to rape her again. After unsuccessfully attempting to strangle her with a belt, Barnes took a hammer to the back of Miller’s head and beat her to death. He then torched her body by setting fire to the bed he left her on.
Due to less developed DNA testing technology at the time, detectives were unable to match Barnes’ DNA evidence and the case went unsolved for 17 years.
In 1997, Barnes strangled his wife to death and the subsequent investigation led police to match Barnes’ DNA to the sample taken from Miller’s body nine years prior. Barnes refused to answer questions at the time and was ultimately not charged with Miller’s murder.
In 2005, Barnes confessed to murdering Miller by recounting specific details of the murder that were never released to the public.
The execution date has been set for Thursday, August 3 at 6 pm.