BANGOR (AP) – An Orono man sentenced to 65 years for murdering his mother a few days before Christmas 1999 will begin his term after he completes a 15 years-to-life sentence for kidnapping and assault in New York.

Mark John Barnes, 33, showed no emotion Wednesday in Penobscot County Superior Court as Justice Andrew Mead handed him a sentence five years longer than the one recommended by the prosecution.

“This was an extremely cruel and brutal act,” Mead said. “All the evidence strongly leads to the conclusion that this was a furious assault that had to be horrifying to the victim.

At his trial in March, jurors deliberated for only 50 minutes before returning their guilty verdict.

The body of Barbara Barnes, 59, a longtime waitress at Pat’s Pizza, was found in her Orono apartment the morning of Dec. 21, 1999. She had been beaten in the face, strangled, stabbed and suffocated.

Police issued a warrant for Mark Barnes three days later. He was arrested the following May at a New York City subway station after he took a woman hostage and fought with police.

Family and friends held hands and smiled as Mead imposed what is essentially a life sentence.

“I am satisfied with that, but I wish we had the death penalty,” Vicky Richards, Barbara Barnes’ sister, said after the sentencing. “I hope they use him in prison like he used his mother.

“I will never forgive him. I have no love for him. He’s gone out of our lives,” Richards said. Like other family members and friends, she wore a large button bearing a picture of Barbara Barnes with the words “Our Angel” hovering over her head.

Barbara Barnes repeatedly told police, family and friends that her son needed treatment for mental health problems. He consistently refused to undergo a psychiatric examination, even after he was charged with his mother’s murder.

On Wednesday, defense attorney Jeffrey Silverstein of Bangor urged Mead to take Barnes’ mental instability into account in deciding his sentence.

“All those close to Mark Barnes recognize he suffered from mental health issues that remain undefined and undiagnosed,” Silverstein told the court. “It is extremely unfortunate that he was unable to obtain services that may have allowed him to make some progress.”

Silverstein said Barnes’ conviction and sentence would be appealed to the Supreme Judicial Court.

Assistant Attorney General Andrew Benson expressed some concern over an appeal, but declared Mead’s sentence “perfect.”

“Mark Barnes will never get out of prison,” he said.

AP-ES-06-26-03 0932EDT



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