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Mom pleads not guilty to murder-suicide plot

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POSTED: January 7, 2008 5:02 a.m.
The Superior Court of Liberty County convened Dec. 10 before Judge Robert Russell for the following arraignments and non-jury criminal trials:

The State vs. Julie Barnard
Barnard, with her public defender, entered a plea of not guilty on one count of arson in the first degree and five counts of aggravated assault in connection with what authorities called, a murder-suicide plot.
According to police reports and witness accounts, Barnard set the mobile home of her estranged husband on fire while he, Barnard and their four children were inside it.
The eldest daughter was credited for the children’s and Barnard’s rescue by breaking out a bedroom window and helping them to safety.
John Barnard escaped the fire by pushing out an air-conditioning unit from his room and crawling out. When he went to phone for help, Barnard reportedly drove the children to Liberty Regional Medical Center so the oldest daughter could get medical attention for a laceration she sustained in the escape.
The daughter later told authorities that, while the fire was consuming their home, Barnard gathered the children in her bedroom and asked everyone to sit and pray.
After a brief search of surrounding communities, Barnard was found in Long County walking down a road. She reportedly told deputies she was planning on harming herself.
During preliminary hearings, Barnard was denied bond and later the judge ordered her to undergo a mental evaluation. The results are not yet available.
Barnard’s defense attorney filed for a Demurrer, which read
1 “The defendant demurs generally to said indictment on the ground that the same fails adequately to charge this defendant with any offense against the laws of the state of Georgia.”
2. “The defendant demurs generally to said indictment on the ground that the same fails to sufficiently set out the charges of count one arson in the first degree and counts two, three, four, five and six on aggravated assault.”
Wherefore this defendant prays that these demurrers be inquired into and that they be sustained and that the above style indictment be dismissed and quashed.
Barnard is scheduled on the criminal plea date calendar for Jan. 3.

The State vs. Joshua P. Murphy
Accepting a plea agreement on the lesser charges of false imprisonment, computer trespass and simple battery, Joshua Murphy avoided charges of rape and kidnapping against an individual during an incident in January of 2006.
According to public records, Murphy was sentenced to three years confinement followed by four years of probation. He was also fined $1,000 for count one of false imprisonment, where he confined his victim without legal authority by refusing to allow her to leave his residence. On count two, computer trespass, he was sentenced to three years confinement and four years probation for using a computer to interfere with a computer e-mail program belonging to the victim. He was also sentenced to 12 months confinement for simple battery where he intentionally caused physical harm by striking his victim in the face with a closed fist. The 12 months are concurrent to counts one and two.
 

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