MILWAUKEE -- A jury trial began Monday, June 10 for one of two men charged in connection with the shooting death of Sandra Parks, 13, on Nov. 19, 2018 near 13th and Hopkins. Parks died when a stray bullet went into her home.
In a last-minute decision Monday afternoon, Isaac Barnes, 27, said he wanted a court trial instead of a jury trial -- meaning the judge assigned to the case would hear the evidence and reach a verdict, rather than a jury. The decision came 30 minutes into jury selection after multiple potential jurors expressed concerns about their ability to be impartial in the case.
In court on Monday, the first police officer to arrive at the scene testified about what he saw.
"You could see a pool of blood. My partner began life-saving measures. I ran to my squad to grab a medical kit," said Joshua Herman, Milwaukee Police Department.
A second officer recounted seeing an individual in the neighborhood shortly after the shooting, but said he wasn't able to see the person's face.
Barnes faces three charges in the case, filed Nov. 21, 2018:
- First degree reckless homicide, use of a dangerous weapon
- Endangering safety by reckless use of a firearm
- Possession of a firearm by a person convicted of a felony
Additionally, he faces one count of intimidating a witness/person charged with a felony, filed Nov. 30, 2018.
His co-defendant in the shooting death of Sandra Parks, Untrell Oden, 28, faces two counts of possession of a firearm by a person convicted of a felony. He has a plea hearing scheduled for July 11.
According to prosecutors, Barnes was the shooter in this case. Prosecutors said Oden helped Barnes hide his guns after the shooting.
As for the witness intimidation charge filed against Barnes, prosecutors said he tried to dissuade Oden from testifying against him.
Prosecutors said Barnes called Oden’s sister from jail on Nov. 28, 2018, nine days after the death of Sandra Parks, “using another inmate’s PIN number,” telling her, “Just tell bro don’t say nothing else.” The criminal complaint made reference to another call placed by Barnes from jail, in which the person on the other line told Barnes that, “Dude is telling on him.” The complaint noted that Barnes was ordered to have no contact with Oden and his sister after making his initial appearance in court on Nov. 24, 2018 after the shooting death of Sandra Parks.
A criminal complaint said Barnes threatened his ex-girlfriend just before the shooting that killed Sandra Parks — and was found hiding in a closet in a home nearby afterward.
“She said ‘Mama, I’m shot,’ and then she said ‘call police,'” said Bernice Parks, Sandra’s mother.
According to a criminal complaint, Parks’ mother said around 7:45 p.m. on Nov. 19, 2018, she was awoken by the sound of gunfire, and heard Sandra yelling “I’m shot! I’m shot!” Sandra was found lying on the living room floor, bleeding. Parks’ mother immediately called 911. Police and fire officials attempted life-saving measures, but Sandra was pronounced dead at the scene.
“I looked at her. She didn’t cry. She wasn’t hollering. She was just so peaceful. She didn’t deserve to leave the world like that. She didn’t,” said Bernice Parks.
The complaint said six spent casings were recovered from the roadway in front of the home, and there were four bullet strikes to the window where Sandra had been watching television. Sandra’s death was caused by blood loss as a result of a single gunshot wound to her upper right flank, the medical examiner determined.
The complaint said when officers arrived on scene, a male took off on foot at the sight of them.
Investigators made contact with Barnes’ ex-girlfriend, who said the person who ran “may have been involved in the shooting on 13th Street.” She told investigators she was parked outside her sister’s home on 12th Street when Barnes approached wearing a mask and holding a Century Arms semi-automatic rifle. He said, “(Expletive), you are lucky the kids are in the car. I was gonna fan you down.” Barnes was found hiding in a closet near 13th and Locust. Oden was also found at that home. A Century Arms semi-automatic rifle was recovered from a garbage can in the living room, and another Century Arms semi-automatic rifle was found in the bedroom.
Oden told investigators Barnes was “shooting at an unknown target” as they walked from a store. He said Barnes had approached him about keeping his guns at Oden’s home — and said he handled both in the past.
Investigators spoke with a woman at the home near 13th and Locust who said she “heard tons of sirens and saw police lights” and soon heard an “aye” or “yo” coming from out back, so she looked out and saw Barnes. She said she allowed him into her apartment.
The complaint said the casings recovered from the scene at 13th and Hopkins matched at least one of the firearms recovered from the home at 13th and Locust.
The complaint noted that both Barnes and Oden had prior felony convictions — Barnes for armed robbery in September 2010 and Oden for armed robbery in April 2011. Court records showed Barnes was out on a $1,000 signature bond in a case in which he was charged with driving or operating a vehicle without consent, filed on Nov. 2, 2018 — and was actually due in court hours before Sandra Parks was shot and killed on Nov. 19, 2018. He failed to appear and warrant was issued for his arrest.
Sandra Parks was shot and killed hours later.
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