April 24, 2006 Brevard County Grand Jury Issues Murder Indictment in 1988 Case

The Brevard County Grand Jury issued a first-degree premeditated murder indictment today against James Phillip Barnes, 44, for the April 20, 1988, murder of Patricia Miller who was 41. Ms. Miller was a nurse living in Melbourne at 1480 Roosevelt Avenue, Unit 101, at the time of her death.

Assistant State Attorney Michael Hunt said the jury also charged Barnes with burglary of a dwelling with an assault or battery, two counts of sexual battery with a deadly weapon, and arson of a dwelling. Barnes is currently incarcerated at Florida State Prison where he is serving a life sentence for the murder of his wife, Linda V. Barnes, in December 1977.

Assistant State Attorney Hunt said Barnes first came to the attention of investigators when a DNA match placed him at the 1988 crime scene.

Testifying before the grand jury on Tuesday were four witnesses including an associate medical examiner, a DNA expert, a retired Melbourne police officer, and a current Melbourne police officer.

The Brevard County Sheriff's Office will make arrangements to transport Barnes from FSP to Brevard County in the near future to face the charges. It is uncertain at this time when he will be in court.

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