A teen who shot and killed a young man after luring him to his death under false pretenses was ordered Thursday to spend the rest of his life in prison.
Caine “C.J.” Davis, 18, received the life sentence in Stafford Circuit Court for the July 3, 2019, slaying of 20-year-old Troy Barnett outside the 5 Twelve store on Garrisonville Road. Davis also shot Barnett’s girlfriend, Laura G. Gomez–De La Cruz, in the head, leaving her with permanent injuries.
In addition to the life sentence, Judge Charles Sharp sentenced Davis to a total of another 26 years, with 10 of those years suspended. Davis had been convicted of first-degree murder, aggravated malicious wounding and two firearms offenses.
A second suspect in Barnett’s killing, 16-year-old Christopher Walters, was also sentenced Thursday. Sharp sentenced him to three years in the juvenile justice system on his felony conviction of being an accessory after the fact.
The third suspect, 18-year-old Rustam Fardin, will be sentenced next month. Fardin pleaded guilty in March to charges that include involuntary manslaughter and robbery. His plea agreement caps the maximum amount of time that he could receive at 20 years.
According to the evidence presented by prosecutors Ryan Frank and Jay Chichester, Fardin and Davis robbed Barnett and another man at gunpoint on June 29, 2019, during a scheduled drug transaction. Barnett responded by posting unflattering statements about his assailants on social media.
The suspects, who were all juveniles and students at North Stafford High School at the time, later hatched a plan that included getting a teenage girl to contact Barnett to arrange a drug deal. They were to meet the night Barnett was killed at a McDonald’s not far from the 5 Twelve.
After the girl didn’t show up, Barnett went into the 5 Twelve store. When he came out, Davis shot him in the head. He then stood over him and shot him in the face.
Gomez–De La Cruz was bending over her dying boyfriend when Davis shot her in the head. She spent months in hospitals and initially was not expected to live, but she survived and was able to testify at Davis’ three-day trial.
The evidence showed that Fardin drove Davis to the area that night and Walters was in the back seat. Fardin and Walters were unable to find Davis after the shootings, so they went and got a pizza.
The shooting was captured on a surveillance camera. Sharp said the “carefully planned execution” was without justification and one of the most “horrifying” incidents he’s ever seen.
During the portion of the sentencings in which both Walters and Caine were together in court, Barnett’s father, Jeff Barnett, told Walters to “do right” when he is eventually released. Barnett asked for a life sentence for Davis, pointing out that his son was running away when he was shot the first time.
Walters testified for the prosecution during the court process and led police to the murder weapon, which had been tossed into Abel Lake. Chichester said he deserved some credit for his cooperation, but requested that he do some time in an adult prison. Chichester said that a month after Barnett’s slaying, the three teens collaborated on another robbery.
“[Walters] could have prevented this but he didn’t lift a finger,” Chichester said.
Terence Patton, Walters’ attorney, said there was no reason for Walters to go to an adult prison. He said Walters was a “patsy” for two older, violent teens who looked at him as someone they could blame if things went wrong.
Jim Ilijevich, Davis’ attorney, argued strenuously that Davis should get something less than a life sentence. He pointed to studies that show young people’s brains aren’t fully developed often into their mid-20s.
“People still do stupid things at 17,” Ilijevich said.
Sharp said he is well aware of the studies that Ilijevich referred to, but added, “there’s a difference between a young person being stupid and being evil.”
Keith Epps: 540/374-5404