On June 22, Governor Ron DeSantis signed a death warrant and scheduled what would be Florida’s fifth execution this year. James Barnes is set to be executed on Thursday, August 3, at 6 pm at Florida State Prison. Take Action today.
We stand together to urge you to stay the execution of James Barnes, and commute his sentence to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
We firmly believe that James should be separated from society and held accountable for his actions, which life without the possibility of parole satisfies.
James was serving a life sentence in 2005 when he confessed to the 1988 murder of Patsy Miller. He did so to provide closure to the victim’s family of their loved one’s unsolved murder. He waived his right to counsel, represented himself, pled guilty, waived a jury, and waived the presentation of mitigation, essentially asking for the death penalty.
James’ childhood was rife with abuse and trauma. His twin sister Jeanice described the chilling abuse – “What happened inside those doors was very horrific. I still have flashbacks. My father would make us all go into this living room….and he would close the blinds, and this is when James did something bad or mom said he did or Beth said he did and my father would have what they call a ‘blanket party,’ something he learned from the military. And he would put [the blanket] over my brother’s head… and take a belt and make us all stand there and whip him. And if we didn’t whip him, we were going to get whipped… by the time my dad got him out of the blanket, his face would be beet red… with just tears streaming down and welts all over him.”
None of the 5 Barnes children escaped this traumatic childhood unscathed – they all succumbed to addiction, suicide, mental illness, and criminal behavior.
By commuting James Barnes’ sentence to life in prison without the possibility of parole, you will send a message that the State of Florida does not need the death penalty to be safer, and that it only serves to perpetuate the cycle of violence.