EAST CLEVELAND, Ohio -- A woman hopes video of a home invasion will help solve the murder of her son, 46-year-old Charles Barnes of East Cleveland.
Barnes was found in the trunk of his car Monday afternoon after two suspects broke into his mother’s home on Knowles Street using Barnes' house keys.
Francine Barnes, 66, said the video was taken from her security cameras as the suspects pistol whipped her, demanding the code to deactivate her alarm system around 12:30 Monday morning.
“We got ‘em on camera; we’re gonna get ‘em,” said Barnes, insisting the video would help lead to the people she believes killed her son.
Barnes was asleep on the couch in her living room when she heard keys jingling in the front door lock.
“I sat up and there was a gun in my face; it was this close to me,” she said.
The grandmother said her security alarm was screaming and so was one of the suspects, desperate for the code that would silence the noise and reassure the security company everything was OK.
“Give me the password,” she said the intruder yelled, “And I wouldn’t give it to him, so he knocked me in the head. He knocked me in the head so hard with that gun I did a backflip.”
Barnes told Fox8’s Lorrie Taylor she’s certain the two men who broke into her home beat her son to death in an effort to get her security code; she’s equally certain her son died because he wouldn’t give it up as she slept just beyond the door they intended to enter.
Security video showed one of the two suspected killers running from the kitchen to the front room, where Francine Barnes had managed to dial 9-1-1 after being knocked to the floor. The man appeared to be moving through the rooms as if he knew where he was.
“You think you know them?” Taylor asked Barnes.
“It’s a good possibility,” she said.
It is a theory under which police told Taylor they were operating.
“They obviously knew his habits or where things were in the house,” said East Cleveland Commander Scott Gardner.
Gardner said the suspects may have left valuable evidence behind when driving off in Charles Barnes' automobile, to include touch DNA.
“We did observe several, what we believe to be usable prints,” he said of the evidence left behind on Barnes' car.
Mrs. Barnes said police may find her own prints on the back of one of the intruders; she said, like her son, she stood up to them even when they were trying to escape her house. A broken doorknob prevented them from making a fast exit.
“And he’s trying to get out. I said, I help you out ... and I opened up and I pushed his a** out the house and shut the door,” she said.
Charles Barnes was an ironworker and a father of two children, credited for having turned his life around after drug convictions in the early and mid 90s. Those who knew him said he was a wonderful person.
East Cleveland police ask anyone with information to contact them.