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Jury: Barbaree guilty of negligent homicide

An Andalusia man was convicted Tuesday of criminally negligent homicide in the traffic accident that killed his pregnant daughter in 2005.

It took jurors repeated attempts over a two-day period to reach the unanimous decision to convict Ronald Bar-baree.

Barbaree

Bar-baree was originally charged with mans-laughter and driving under the influence following the New Year’s Day wreck that claimed the life of 20-year-old Rachel Michelle Roberts. The accident occurred on U.S. Hwy. 29 North near Gantt, and Roberts died when the vehicle left the roadway and overturned.

This was the second time the case was presented to a Covington County jury, and jurors again had difficulty coming to an agreement on the charges.

At the third announcement that jurors couldn’t reach a unanimous verdict, Circuit Judge Ashley McKathan urged the six-man, six-woman jury to view the evidence as a “fair and reasonable person might.”

“If we were to retry this case, I don’t know if we could get a jury as fair as you,” he said. “All the good work you did would be wasted, and that would be a real shame.

“Think about your position and put it against what an average, reasonable person put against the evidence,” he said.

A little more than an hour later, the jury came back with a verdict – guilty of the lesser included offense of criminally negligent homicide. Roberts’ other family members applauded when the judge announced Barbaree would be remanded to the Covington County Jail to await his Dec. 8 sentencing date.