Man gets two life terms in Prince George's murders

Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, December 20, 2010; 6:30 PM

For 10 minutes, Delford M. Barnes insisted to a Prince George's County judge Monday that despite a Circuit Court jury's verdict, he was innocent of the grisly home-invasion double-murder of a Ghanaian immigrant and his pregnant girlfriend.

Standing at the defense table in an orange jail jumpsuit, Barnes said: "The evidence that was presented, I have nothing to do with that. I'm not that kind of person."

Barnes lamented that he hadn't testified in his own defense during the trial. At one point, he turned to the relatives of his victims, some of whom were struggling to hold back tears, and again insisted on his innocence.

One relative, a woman, cried out that he should tell the judge how many times he had stabbed one of the victims.

Circuit Court Judge Melanie M. Shaw Geter then meted out the maximum sentence allowable under the law: two life terms in prison without parole, and an additional 20 years for a handgun violation. Each of the sentences is to be served consecutively.

"This was a horrendous crime," Shaw Geter told Barnes. "It was particularly horrendous because it occurred in their home. We think of our homes as a safe place."

Barnes, 52, did not react outwardly to the sentence. Relatives of victims Seth Aidoo, 40, and Eunice Baah, 36, quietly wept, hugged each other and thanked police and prosecutors.

After a nearly month-long trial, a Circuit Court jury convicted Barnes on Sept. 29 of two counts of first-degree murder and other offenses in the Jan. 12, 2009, killings of Aidoo and Baah in the home they shared in the upscale Oak Creek neighborhood.

According to evidence presented by prosecutors, two men, Barnes and Samuel Culley Jr., entered the empty home and waited. Baah arrived first, and Barnes shot her in the head, prosecutors said.

When Aidoo got home, he fought with Barnes and Culley but was overpowered by the two men, who beat him, prosecutors said. Barnes stabbed Aidoo 43 times, prosecutors said.

Culley, 54, pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree murder and testified for the state against Barnes. He was sentenced to life in prison.

Both men lived near the home where the slayings occurred.

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