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Two of three men charged in the shooting death of Laylah Petersen plead not guilty

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MILWAUKEE -- 24-year-old Paul Farr and 20-year-old Carl Barrett, two of three men charged in the shooting death of five-year-old Laylah Petersen, entered pleas of not guilty and were ordered to stand trial on Wednesday, October 28th.

Carl Barrett

Carl Barrett

The three people charged in this case are: Farr, Barrett and 23-year-old Arlis Gordon.

Farr and Barrett were in court for their preliminary hearing Wednesday -- which lasted nearly three hours.

Police say Farr and Barrett were arrested on October 14th in Milwaukee. Gordon was arrested in suburban Chicago on October 17th on unrelated charges.

Farr has been charged with two counts of harboring/aiding a felon. He is the accused getaway driver in this case.

Barrett and Gordon have both been charged with first degree reckless homicide -- as party to a crime.

Carl Barrett, Arlis Gordon, Paul Farr

Carl Barrett, Arlis Gordon, Paul Farr

While the court commissioner said there "was no doubt" that Barrett will stand trial in this case, the defense tried to convince the court that Farr shouldn't.

Paul Farr

Paul Farr

"I'm glad justice is being served, but it's being served on the wrong behalf," Sandra Townsend, Farr's stepmother said.

Farr's family says while they feel for Laylah Petersen's family, they say Farr isn't responsible for what happened to her.

"We`re sorry," Townsend said.

"Paul is not the type of person that would be involved in things like this. He works hard every day," Pamela Forbes, Farr's grandmother said.

Laylah Petersen would have turned six years old on September 23rd. But her young life was cut short when she was shot while she was sitting on her grandfather's lap inside a home near 58th and Fairmount on November 6, 2014.

Petersen died at the hospital, as a result of two gunshot wounds to her head. Her death was ruled a homicide.

A criminal complaint filed in this case sheds new light on what led up to the shooting.

That complaint says Arlis Gordon was in court on November 6th, 2014 as a jury was deliberating in a homicide case. The complaint indicates Gordon was the homicide victim's "brother."

The complaint says during a break in the court proceedings, Gordon contacted a man and asked him to lend Gordon a firearm. Then, Gordon -- accompanied by Barrett, met the man at Farr's home, and the man gave Gordon a firearm.

According to the complaint, the firearm was a "unique looking 9mm semi-automatic handgun, green in color, with a camouflage pattern on it."

Laylah Petersen

Laylah Petersen

Late on the afternoon of November 6th, 2014, the jury deliberating in the homicide case acquitted the man facing charges -- issuing a not guilty verdict.

Police say following the verdict, a man reported he ran into Gordon near Sherman and Villard -- and said Gordon was "very upset," and intoxicated. That man indicated Gordon was talking about his brother's killer, and that he stated: "He killed my brother and he's getting out! This can't be going on. I'm gonna do something about it."

The complaint says around dusk on November 6th, Gordon called Farr and told them "they could come get the gun." Shortly thereafter, Farr, Barrett and another man (22-year-old Divonte Forbes, who is NOT charged in this case) got into Farr's vehicle and drove to a location where Gordon's family was gathering after the jury's verdict was heard.

Eventually, Gordon got into Farr's vehicle -- and the four men drove towards a location referred to as "Baby Girl's house."

At one point during this ride, the complaint indicates Gordon asked that the vehicle stop, because he had to pick something up. Cell phone records showed at this point in time, Farr's phone was located very close to the scene of the homicide of Laylah Petersen (58th and Fairmount.)

"He didn't have no knowledge of them going. They said 'stop -- we gotta go do something or grab something or get something.' These are his friends," Farr's stepmother, Sandra Townsend said in court.

Within seconds, Barrett and Gordon got back into the vehicle -- and Farr drove away.

Bullet marker on window of home where Laylah Petersen was shot

Bullet marker on window of home where Laylah Petersen was shot

The court commissioner agreed with Farr's family, partially.

"There's evidence that suggests he didn`t know what was going on," a detective said in court.

But when the men arrived at "Baby Girl's house" on 42nd Street, the complaint indicates two firearms were placed on a table, and Barrett and Gordon began talking about the shooting, with Gordon telling the group: "I emptied the whole clip! We lit the whole (expletive) up!"

"They go back to his house laughing, giggling, smoking, talking about what happened. At that point, it's clear he knew what was going on. At that point, it could be argued plausibly that he was aiding and harboring a felon," the court commissioner said.

The complaint indicates the fourth man who was with Gordon, Barrett and Farr on November 6th (22-year-old Divonte Forbes, who is NOT charged in this case) told investigators he encountered Barrett in jail -- and Barrett told the man that "they meant to hit the house of Gordon's brother's killer, or the house where his baby's mama stays, but that they shot into the wrong house." Police say Gordon asked that the man "keep his mouth shut."

The home of Gordon's brother's killer's girlfriend is four blocks from the scene of the homicide (at 54th and Fairmount), according to police.

Prosecutors say Divonte Forbes used the weapon that was used to kill Petersen in his own shooting spree that very same day (November 6th). He's facing 13 felony charges for a series of shootings he described as a "killing spree" aimed at relatives of a man Forbes had a feud with.

Prosecutors say Forbes is the man who gave the weapon to Gordon in this case.

Forbes was sitting in the backseat of the vehicle the man arrived in at 58th and Fairmount when Laylah Petersen was shot.

Again -- he is not charged in connection with Laylah Petersen's death. Prosecutors say he was a key witness in this case, however.

Suspect vehicle in shooting of Laylah Petersen

Suspect vehicle in shooting of Laylah Petersen


  • pithicus

    They should be put in a work camp with hard labor. Like very hard working people that are not criminals and victimized by these folks along with the liberal lefties cookoo birds that allow their children to disrespect law enforecment officers in class and have to be dragged out and justified force as well. I guess these felons didn’t attend school or church and probably don’t have any parental guidence.

    • carlos

      well, little do u know… both have graduated high school and both have been baptized and attend church functions regularly…… they got a tip that led to the wrong ppl.. thats it thats all.. both are innocent

    • phd

      Suppose you are in an ideal position to raise a flourishing child. You are well-educated, financially secure, have plenty of social support, and so on. (I do not mean to imply that lacking any of these advantages will necessarily prevent a child from flourishing – just that these are advantages, in that they improve the odds that a child will flourish.) Further, suppose that you have a loving disposition, and would certainly care deeply and well for any child you might have. Yet, as it happens, you are ambivalent about the prospect of having children, since you have many other interests and life projects you value, which would be curtailed (at least to some extent) were you to have children.

  • BG

    today isLaylah’s aunt’s 14th Birthday. I know finding these killers were one of the best gifts she received. God willing all will spend life in Prison.

  • 989

    There’s lots of good people in the world in need of organ transplants. I think they would have to dispose of their souls.

    • libertarian

      Iam reporting you to authorities for your comment. Iam going to make a citizens arrest on you 989. Those are human beings with real feelings and hearts you have denounced.

  • Karen Nelson

    Where are all the “Black lives matter” junkies?? My prayers are with Layla’s family. She was a beautiful girl and sadly her true potential in life will never be known. We, who didn’t know her, but were touched and moved by her story and her sad, violent end will always remember her and imagine her potential. Rest in Peace Dear Layla, I know you are at peace and in the Heavenly Kingdom with God.

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