Victim's girlfriend identifies Jassen Barnes as killer

Prosecutor: Justin Thomas shot to death during visit to mother’s apartment

Author: Paul Venema, Reporter, pvenema@ksat.com
Published On: Mar 19 2013 06:03:09 PM CDT   Updated On: Mar 19 2013 06:37:09 PM CDT
SAN ANTONIO -

Justin Thomas was making a short visit to his mother’s east side apartment when a single gunshot to the heart claimed his life.

LeJoy Haynes, 23, Thomas’ girlfriend, accompanied him to the apartment complex on July 22, 2011.

It was the day before Thomas’ 23rd birthday.

“I just hear two firecrackers -- which (were) gunshots -- but they sound like firecrackers,” Haynes testified.

She was testifying in the trial of Jassen Barnes, who is accused of killing Thomas.

“I look up and he’s running to me,” Haynes said. “He’s running to me and his face is looking like he’s either scared or hurt.”

Thomas managed to only get as far as the doorway of his mother’s apartment.

“’They shot me.’ That’s all he gets to tell his mom -- his final words,” prosecutor Tanner Neidhardt told the jury during opening arguments. “As she holds him, he dies in her hands."

Barnes is classified as a habitual criminal, having been convicted of aggravated robbery and aggravated assault in the past.

Because of his classification, the minimum sentence he faces if convicted is 25 years in prison. The maximum is life in prison.