MIAMI (CBSMiami) – It’s almost too much for one family to bear.
In January of this year, 20-year-old Octavia Barnett was gunned down in her Lauderdale Lakes apartment along with two others. Now her younger sister, 18-year-old Alicia Barnett has been murdered in Central Florida.
CBS 4 reporter Joan Murray spoke exclusively with both girls’ grandmother, who lives in Miramar.
“She was so happy always hugging everyone and for her to be killed, it’s not fair,” Fay Richards said tearfully remembering her youngest granddaughter, Alicia. Fay Richards said she raised both girls in her Miramar home.
Up until recently Alicia had been attending high school in Miramar. But she moved to Poinciana, Fla. recently to live with her dad, Al Barnett. “She was excited to be getting her diploma, going to college to pursue her dream. She was going off to the world, and it’s my understanding she took three bullets. They knew exactly when she was going to school, waiting for her,” said Richards.
Richards has many questions for investigators. “This was planned, they hit her going to school,” she said. Her father Al is also struggling to understand who would want to hurt his daughter. He said she had made many new friends at her high school. He said she was pursuing a nursing degree. “I just can’t believe, this is my baby girl. Two of my girls dead in one year.”
While Winter Haven police piece together the murder of Alicia Barnett, she was found one-quarter mile from her high school off a trail, CBS 4 learned that investigators ‘there’ did talk to homicide detectives ‘here’ to find out if there was any possible connection to her sister’s murder.
According to the Broward Sheriff’s office, investigators ‘compared notes,’ but said ‘there found no connection.’ The man charged with Octavia Barnett’s murder and two others is Lineten Belezaire, her former boyfriend.
Beleziare is facing three counts of second degree murder in the deaths of Octavia Barnett, Natasha Plummer and Plummer’s six-month-old baby. He has denied any involvement.
While he was free on bond awaiting that trial, federal investigators arrested him in October in an ‘unrelated’ case. Belezaire is accused along with dozens of others of filing false federal income tax returns to collect a million dollars in refunds.
Belezaire is scheduled to go to trial in both cases early next year.
The Broward prosecutor handling the murder cases said Alicia Barnett was not on the witness list.