Convicted murderer Trenton Barnes insisted Friday that his brother Troy Stevenson didn’t take part in the 2013 killing of a young mother during an attempted robbery at a Columbia bakery.
“My brother ain’t had nothin’ to do with this crime at all,” Barnes said Friday before testimony ended in Stevenson’s trial in Richland County Circuit Court.
Stevenson – who is facing charges of murder, second-degree burglary, attempted armed robbery and kidnapping – did not take the stand.
The jury of six men and six women is expected to begin deliberations Monday after closing arguments by prosecutors and Stevenson’s legal team.
Barnes testified against the advice of attorneys handling the appeal of his murder conviction late last year in the shooting death of 33-year-old Kelly Hunnewell at the Carolina Cafe bakery. A third person, Lorenzo Young, also was found guilty of murder.
Barnes repeatedly insisted during testimony that Stevenson did not take part in the killing in any way but declined to answer some questions from prosecutors, saying doing it would be self-incrimination.
“By the time, he (Stevenson) got down there, he heard gun shots and took off,” Barnes said.
Latoya Barnes, mother of the brothers, testified Friday that she woke a sleeping Stevenson to go out on a late-night search for Barnes.
Their testimony came after police investigator Matthew McCoy said Stevenson slowly admitted his involvement in the killing.
McCoy told the jury that Stevenson initially insisted he was at home sleeping when Hunnewell shot to death.
But “his story began to evolve” as police continued to question him during the investigation, McCoy said.
Stevenson finally conceded that he was at the bakery but insisted he just was looking in the door trying to find his brother instead of acting as a lookout for the attempted robbery, McCoy said.
The defendant changed his story after police pointed out “it wasn’t ever consistent” as they pressed him for details of what happened, the investigator testified.
Stevenson, then 18, is accused of being the lookout for Barnes, then 16, and their friend Lorenzo Young, then 18, as they entered the bakery at 13 Tommy Circle off Beltline Boulevard shortly after 3 a.m. July 1, 2013.
Hunnewell, who was alone at the time, tried to defend herself using a large silver cooking spoon.
She was shot multiple times, police later said. Hunnewell had four children, who were ages 13, 9, 8 and 6 at the time of her death.
The suspects were arrested about a week after the killing.
Barnes and Young were both found guilty of murder in November. Prosecutors alleged in that trial that Barnes was the triggerman.