Just one day shy of the fifth anniversary of Derrick Barnes’ death, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court upheld his killer’s conviction. The ruling came down Friday.
Derrick Barnes was 25 years old when he was shot and killed as he sat on a family member’s porch on Fayston Street in Dorchester on August 27, 2011. A jury convicted both Frankie Herndon and Frederick Henderson of first-degree murder and unlawful possession of a firearm for Barnes’ death. According to the Suffolk County DA’s office:
Evidence and testimony at trial established that Barnes, who once lived in Boston but had since moved out of town, was visiting family after Boston’s Caribbean Carnival. He was sitting on the porch of a family member’s home with several other people just after 7:00 p.m. when Herndon and Henderson approached from the sidewalk. Their conversation soon became a verbal altercation that ended when Henderson and Herndon pulled guns and opened fire. Barnes’ friends scattered; he was struck.
Henderson ran from the scene while Herndon calmly walked up to Barnes’ fallen body and fired again as the young man lay dying on the porch. Barnes was pronounced dead of his injuries at Boston Medical Center.
Both Herndon and Henderson, now 32 years old, appealed their convictions. The Suffolk County DA’s office released the following details about Herndon’s appeal:
Herndon was identified by eyewitnesses who knew the defendants and whose accounts were corroborated by imagery from surveillance cameras near the scene. Among other arguments, Herndon claimed on appeal that the trial judge erred by using the state’s model jury instruction on eyewitness evidence rather than a version his attorney recommended. The high court rejected that argument and found that, although it had since updated that instruction, “The judge here did not abuse his discretion or otherwise err in declining to give the defendant’s requested eyewitness identification instruction and giving instead a version of the model … instruction.”
Henderson’s appeal remains pending.