A man convicted of stabbing two fellow inmates in Santa Barbara County Jail in 2008 now faces life in prison.
Kenneth Barber, 42, was found guilty last week of attempted premeditated and deliberate murder and assault with a deadly weapon. The charges relate to attacks on two separate inmates on the same day in 2008. The jury acquitted Barber of attempted murder in the attack on the second victim but reached a verdict on the lesser offense of assault with a deadly weapon. The jury also found special allegations of great bodily injury and the personal use of a dangerous or deadly weapon related to the first count were true.
The attempted premeditated murder conviction carries a seven-years-to-life sentence, according to prosecutor Kimberly Smith, but because of a prior strike, the number is doubled to 14 years before Barber would become eligible for parole. That’s not to mention the drug charges he was originally incarcerated for or the fact that the crimes occurred within five years of having been released from state prison. He had a prior conviction for mayhem related to biting another man’s ear. While the total amount of time Barber could be facing is complicated and unclear, his prison sentence is shaping up to be significant.
Throughout the trial, the prosecution showed Barber engaged or appeared to engage in multiple levels of intimidation. At the time, in August 2008, Barber was staying in a section of the jail reserved for hardcore general population inmates, typically those with prior prison terms or affiliations with street or prison gangs. Evidence showed Barber was sending coded messages to associates of the Aryan Brotherhood with witness information hidden within them. Smith also introduced evidence linking Barber to a stabbing while he was in Calipatria State Prison.
Despite the intimidation, both victims took the stand to testify, though the second alleged victim wouldn’t admit he had been attacked by Barber, instead explaining he had fallen down a set of stairs in the jail.
Barber is slated to be sentenced on July 30.