An Orono man was convicted of killing his mother

PORTLAND (AP) – The Supreme Judicial Court on Friday denied the appeal of an Orono man convicted of murdering his 59-year-old mother.

The justices unanimously rejected Mark Barnes’ arguments that the trial judge erred by admitting three types of evidence at his trial a year ago.

Jurors deliberated for less than an hour before finding Barnes, 34, guilty of killing Barbara Barnes four days before Christmas in 1999. She had been beaten, strangled, stabbed and suffocated in her Orono apartment.

Superior Court Justice Andrew Mead, who characterized the slaying as “an extremely cruel and brutal act,” sentenced Barnes to 65 years – five years longer than the term recommended by the prosecution.

The law court’s sentencing review panel denied Barnes’ petition for an appeal of his sentence.

In appealing his conviction, Barnes challenged the admissibility of statements Barbara Barnes made to police three to 12 minutes after he allegedly attacked her on a prior occasion. The justices agreed that the statements were admissible under the excited utterance exception to the hearsay rule.

“The court’s finding that the statement was made under the stress of the startling event is supported by evidence of the victimn’s demeanor and the short amount of time that passed between the alleged attack and the victim’s statement to the police,” the opinion read.

Also found admissible by the court was testimony about Barnes’ violent conduct against New York City police officers at the time of his arrest and his prior statements that he wanted to kill his mother.

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

AP-ES-03-26-04 1330EST

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