It took a Jefferson Parish jury about an hour Friday night to convict Shaun Barnett of two counts of first-degree murder for the killing of a Kenner couple while they slept in their bed with their infant daughter in 2016.
He faces life in prison when he is sentenced Feb. 8 by Judge Lee Faulkner in 24th Judicial District Court in Gretna. Although a first-degree murder conviction allows the death penalty, prosecutors are not seeking it.
Authorities said Barnett, 30, entered through the back door of the Idaho Street apartment of Dawn Scott, 28, and Raynell Kimbrough, 31, crept into the bedroom and shot Scott once in the head. Kimbrough woke up and Barnett shot him in the face and the body.
Barnett then shot Scott in the body before leaving the apartment, according to Jefferson Parish District Attorney Paul Connick's office.
The couple's 2-week-old daughter, who was sleeping between them, was not physically injured.
Scott's son, who was 10 years old at the time of the April 4 shooting, heard the gunshots just before 7 a.m. and saw Barnett leave the house. He discovered the bodies and took his 2-year-old brother outside and alerted a neighbor, who called police, Connick's office said.
Prosecutors said that a neighbor who heard the gunshots looked out her window to see Barnett’s gold-colored Ford Taurus drive away from the house.
Jurors saw evidence that photos from license-plate recognition cameras, backed by cellphone records, showed that Barnett was in Scott and Kimbrough’s neighborhood just before and after the murders and returned home soon afterward.
A health care-related card for Dawn Scott and a Social Security card of one of her children were found in Barnett’s car.
A forensics expert testified that the blood found on a camouflage jacket Barnett was seen wearing that morning on a neighbor’s security camera footage had less than a 1-in-100-billion chance of not being Kimbrough’s.
The Kenner Police Department said it determined that Barnett and Kimbrough were friends and had been at a daiquiri shop in Avondale the night before. Detectives said Barnett traveled across the Huey P. Long Bridge to Kimbrough’s apartment. Following an argument with Scott, they said, Barnett left, only to return later to kill the couple.
Barnett denied committing the murders, and his attorney, Christian Bonin, told jurors the police didn't pursue leads in the case that would have pointed to other suspects.
Barnett began acting up during closing arguments, loudly arguing at one point that he wanted to deliver his own remarks. He apparently thought better of it as those duties were handled by Bonin after a short recess and conference.
Barnett was also convicted of being a felon in possession of a weapon, stemming from six previous convictions for narcotics and property crimes in Jefferson Parish.