MARTINEZ -- A Concord man charged with murder accepted a plea agreement of residential burglary Thursday, becoming the third and final defendant in the gruesome murder of a 21-year-old Benicia native to plead to a crime.
Johnathan Ismael Harriel, a minor when Shelby Barnes was brutally slain in October 2011, was charged as an adult. He invoked his Miranda rights after being arrested, prosecutor Jason Peck said, and refused to give a statement to investigators.
Harriel, 19, will be sentenced to six years in prison, the maximum penalty for residential burglary, on Oct. 27.
"This is not a reflection of how we feel about Shelby Barnes," Peck said of Harriel's plea agreement. "It's a reflection of our problems of proof. There was no physical evidence tying him to the murder, in stark contrast to the evidence that pointed to Donald Waldecker and Randi Dees."
Dees pleaded no contest to second-degree murder in January and was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison. In February, Waldecker agreed to a plea deal of first-degree murder and a prison sentence of 25 years to life.
All three defendants lived with Barnes in a Concord house that had once been owned by her father but had gone into foreclosure. Waldecker, mistakenly believing he could assume ownership of the house by taking personal possession of the deed, instigated a savage attack on Barnes. He was assisted by Dees, his pregnant girlfriend at the time, and, investigators believed, Harriel.
At a preliminary hearing in April 2012, a Concord police detective testified that Waldecker said Harriel had handed him pieces of duct tape that were used to bind Barnes, and helped carry Barnes to a basement door. Barnes was kicked down the stairs. Waldecker then bludgeoned Barnes with a table leg and slit her throat.
Contact Gary Peterson at 925-952-5053. Follow him at Twitter.com/garyscribe.