66ºF

3 charged in killing over marijuana have charges upgraded to capital murder

Group planned on robbing victims at gunpoint, Sheriff Javier Salazar says

SAN ANTONIO – Three men charged with killing a man during a drug deal for marijuana are now facing capital murder charges.

Michael Aguilar, Emmanuel Herrera and Charles Robnett were initially charged with murder in the Oct. 16 killing of Gary Barnhardt. Each of their charges were upgraded to capital murder.

Sheriff Javier Salazar said the charges were upgraded after investigators determined the three men met up with Barnhardt and Albert Ramirez not to buy drugs, but to rob them of a "small quantity of marijuana" at gunpoint.

READ THE INITIAL STORY: 1 dead, another hospitalized, in overnight double shooting 

Herrera and Aguilar were out on bond and under GPS monitoring when they were taken into custody by BCSO's Fugitive Apprehension Unit. Robnett was already in custody.

"For all intents and purposes here within this particular case, we've got 2 victims that are 20 and 18 years of age -- the 20-year-old being the one that died," Salazar said. "And we've got three suspects here -- two of them are 18 and one of them is 19 -- we're looking at five young lives that have been completely ruined at this point over something as senseless as a drug deal."

According to an arrest warrant affidavit, the shooting around 1:30 a.m. at the intersection of Lake Bend East and Fountain Lake right before police were called to an H-E-B parking lot in the 6500 block of FM 78. 

RELATED: 3rd person charged with murder of man over marijuana

BCSO officials said Robnett, Aguilar and Herrera met up with the two victims to buy marijuana. 

Deputies said Ramirez handed Robnett a bag of marijuana through the passenger side window of his car when Robnett pointed a gun toward where Barnhardt was sitting and started firing.

The affidavit said that Aguilar told police they intended to take the marijuana without paying for it and that Herrera also participated in the shooting while standing behind the victim's car.