By Ruben Castaneda
Tuesday, December 21, 2010; B03
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 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.
Culley is the brother of Sheila Aidoo, Seth Aidoo's estranged wife. Seth and Sheila Aidoo were going through a divorce at the time of the killings. For a while, Culley lived in the Aidoo home, but Seth Aidoo forced him out five months before the killings.
Barnes was the boyfriend of Sheila Aidoo.
Barnes and Culley were motivated by financial gain, authorities said. They hoped to profit from insurance policies held by Seth Aidoo, investigators said.
According to court testimony, Barnes and Culley got into the home by using a garage opener Culley had obtained from Sheila Aidoo.
Sheila Aidoo has not been charged.
Prince George's homicide Detective Benjamin Brown and other investigators obtained a raft of physical evidence against Barnes, which was presented in court.
Police found Barnes's DNA under Aidoo's fingernails, prosecutors said. They said it got there when Aidoo tried to defend himself.
Police also found surveillance video footage showing Culley and Barnes near the Aidoo home on the day of the killings. Sylvan Barnes, Barnes's brother, testified for the state that he drove Barnes and Culley to the Aidoo home, dropped them off and drove away.
"To lay in wait to stab someone 43 times and to shoot a defenseless pregnant woman shows this defendant to be a cold-blooded, callous and calculated killer," State's Attorney Glenn F. Ivey said.