Where is Killer David Barnett Now?

Local news outlets were alerted by a grisly double murder at a St. Louis home. Clifford Barnett and Leona Barnett, a couple of love, were found murdered in their home in February 1996. Authorities eventually identified David Barnett as their adopted grandchild. The second season of Netflix’s ‘I am a Killer’ chronicles this very case in the episode ‘Overkill.’ So, let’s find out more about what happened then, shall we?

How did Clifford Barnett and Leona Barnett die?

Clifford Raymond Barnett was a single man who lived in St. Louis with Leona Bells Adam Barnett. They lived on the same street and had a son, John Barnett. They were both religious and went to church every Sunday. John had three children, Clifford, Leona, and they saw them often in the years before the murders. It would turn out, however, that one of the three children was responsible for what happened.

Clifford and Leona were back at church on February 4, 1996 around 1 pm. But it was the last time they would return to that place. They were later discovered murdered at their home by the authorities. Clifford, 82, had been stabbed approximately ten times in the neck, face, and hands. There were also several other cuts. Leona, his wife of 75 years, was also stabbed to death. She sustained 12 stab wounds in her neck and several cuts to her face. According to authorities, at least five knives were used during the attack. Some of these knives snapped as a result of the force that was applied.

Who Killed Clifford & Leona Barnett

The authorities arrested David Barnett, one of John’s adopted kids, after the couple’s car was found in a residential area. David confessed soon after to the murder of Clifford and Leona. He even recreated what happened. However, at the time, a motive wasn’t established. The police learned that in the days leading up to the incident, David had talked about his grandparents’ car and said they would be renting it to him.

Then, on February 4, 1996, David got into Clifford and Leona’s home while they were at church. He sat and watched television while he waited for the grandparents to return. It was around noon on that day when the grandparents appeared, triggering a violent confrontation. David began by attacking his grandfather, kicking and stabbing him several times. After attacking his grandfather, David turned his attention toward Leona, and stabbed her multiple times. David had hidden one knife between two mattresses in the bedroom, and used them both in the kitchen.

After that, David washed up, closed the blinds, and took money from his grandmother’s purse and the car keys. Court documents indicated that he confirmed that his grandparents weren’t breathing before he left. Furthermore, the police learned about David’s troubled upbringing. His mother was a drinker and took diet pills during her pregnancy with him. She later gave him up as a baby. According to the show, David was given to Robert Biggerstaff who was a friend of his mother. David said that he was molested, beaten, and kept under his care.

David was just ten years old when John Barnett adopted him after he had gone through the foster system. David claims that things started out well but John began beating him more often. However, he would try to comfort David by hugging and kissing him. Things got much worse after that, with David saying, “He would touch me inappropriately, and I started to black out when I was sitting on his lap. I felt numb, and I wanted to die.” John adopted two more boys, and David felt terrible because he couldn’t protect them from what was happening.

David Barnett is Where Are You Today?

David was ultimately found guilty on two counts first-degree murder, two first-degree robbery and two counts armed criminal actions. David’s attorneys hoped for a lenient sentence, bringing attention to his tough childhood, and stated that he had been dealing with depression, bipolar disorder, and post-traumatic stress. David was known for his past attempts to kill himself. However, he was sentenced for the murders and received successive life sentences for other charges.

david barnett

In 2015, David’s death sentence was overturned after a judge ruled that his lawyers should have talked more about David’s childhood; the sexual abuse claims were not introduced in court at the time. David was 43 when his sentence was commuted from death to life imprisonment without parole in March 2019. Eventually, he did talk about why he went to his grandparents’ home that fateful morning.

According to David’s friend, Jason Kingdon, it was to talk about John’s abusive behavior. However, Jason said Clifford and Leona didn’t want to hear it. David has maintained that he doesn’t remember what happened after that. He is currently being held at the Potosi correctional Center in Mineral Point.

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