William Leroy Barnes resentenced to consecutive life sentences for brutal murders of elderly Salisbury couple in 1992
ROWAN COUNTY, N.C. (WBTV) - One of the men convicted and sentenced to the death penalty in 1994 for the murder of B. P. and Ruby Tutterow in their Salisbury home in October 1992 has now been resentenced after a new hearing.
The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit concluded that during William Leroy Barnes’ 1994 jury trial, a juror’s discussion with her pastor regarding the death penalty, and the juror later sharing that conversation with her fellow jurors during deliberations, constituted an improper external influence on the jury, resulting in prejudice that had a substantial and injurious effect on the jury’s punishment decision.
On December 7, 2020, the United States District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina ordered that the State of North Carolina may conduct a new capital sentencing hearing in the next 300 days from the date of the Order.
The Rowan County District Attorney’s office has been working closely with B.P. and Ruby Tutterow’s family during the federal appeals process. After consulting with the immediate family members, they expressed a desire to have the case resolved with a resentencing arrangement that would not require them to re-live the tragic and painful events yet again with another jury trial.
“We have certainly taken into account the immediate family members’ wishes on how they would like to see the case resolved, as they are the ones who have been - and continue to be - the people most affected by this tragedy. The disposition today is a direct reflection of our office honoring and respecting their wishes,” said Rowan County District Attorney Brandy Cook.
William Leroy Barnes was resentenced to two consecutive life sentences for two counts of first degree murder. As in the original judgments, these two consecutive life sentences will be served consecutively to his remaining related convictions for two counts of robbery with a dangerous weapon and one count of first degree burglary, which were previously ordered to be served consecutively to one another.
Since this case falls under Fair Sentencing laws from 1992, according to the North Carolina Department of Public Safety, the first time Barnes would even be eligible for a parole hearing would be in 2053, when he would be almost 93 years old.
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