Second suspect will face murder charge in connection with Jazmine Barnes' killing

A second suspect will face a charge of capital murder in connection with the Jazmine Barnes homicide investi...

Posted: Jan 9, 2019 9:04 AM
Updated: Jan 9, 2019 9:04 AM

A second suspect will face a charge of capital murder in connection with the Jazmine Barnes homicide investigation, the Harris County Sheriff's Office said Tuesday.

Larry Woodruffe was taken into custody Sunday on separate drug possession charges, and "additional corroborating evidence" from the shooting investigation has prompted prosecutors to consider a capital murder charge, according to a news release from the Harris County Sheriff's Office.

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"Credit is due the discipline and persistence of homicide investigators, who worked around the clock to corroborate tipster information with actual evidence," Harris County First Assistant District Attorney Tom Berg said in a statement.

Woodruffe, 24, will be in court Wednesday morning for the drug case and will have a preliminary hearing in the murder case on Thursday morning, according to online records.

Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said she and her senior prosecutors will decide later whether to pursue the death penalty.

The news came the day Jazmine Barnes' family and thousands of other people packed a church for her funeral.

The shooting was most likely a case of "mistaken identity," Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said Sunday.

Jazmine, who was 7, was riding in a car with her mother and sisters on December 30 when someone in another vehicle shot her in the head.

Eric Black Jr., 20, was arrested Saturday in a traffic stop for not using his turn signal. He is accused of driving the car used in Jazmine's death, Gonzalez said in a news conference Sunday. He faces a charge of capital murder and his first court date is February 15.

Jazmine and her three sisters were still in their pajamas as the family drove to a store for breakfast supplies. A man pulled his vehicle up next to their car at around 7 a.m. and opened fire, Jazmine's mother, LaPorsha Washington, said.

Investigators identified Black as one of two suspects in Jazmine's shooting based on an anonymous tip, according to an affidavit read aloud in court Sunday. Gonzalez said that the tipster had approached writer and activist Shaun King days earlier, and King passed the tip on to police.

The anonymous tipster said Black and another person, identified in court as "L.W.," shot at Jazmine's family's vehicle after mistaking it for another one.

Black was pulled over days later for not using his turn signal, according to the affidavit. He was arrested for marijuana possession and questioned by homicide investigators based on the tip, the affidavit says.

Black told investigators that he drove the vehicle used in the shooting while a man in the passenger seat opened fire, according to the affidavit.

Black said the gun used in the shooting was at his home, the affidavit says. He gave officers permission to search for it and they found a 9mm pistol consistent with shell casings recovered from the scene.

An outpouring of support

Washington, 30, was shot in the arm, while Jazmine's 6-year-old sister was hit by shattered glass. Jazmine's two teenage sisters were not injured. But minutes later, Jazmine was pronounced dead.

Hundreds of mourners gathered Saturday outside the Walmart near where Jazmine was killed.

Washington thanked everyone who came to honor her daughter, whose birthday is next month, she said.

"I'm telling you, every time I see one of y'all reach out for me, I can hold my head up," she said. "I can get up in the morning."

More than 2,700 people donated to a GoFundMe set up for Jazmine's funeral expenses and family. Houston Texans receiver DeAndre Hopkins has said he'll donate his playoff game check to the family.

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