Anthony Barbour found guilty of reckless homicide

Published: Dec. 15, 2016 at 11:06 AM CST
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19 months after Laynee Wallace was found dead at the bottom of a well, the man who admitted to putting her there has been found guilty of killing her.

After seven days of trial, and four hours of deliberation, a jury found Anthony Barbour guilty of reckless homicide, tampering with physical evidence and abuse of a corpse on Thursday night.

After the guilty verdict the jury deliberated once more to discuss a recommended sentence.

After meeting for less than an hour the jury made the decision to give Barbour the maximum of five years on each felony charge, set to run concurrently.

If the reckless homicide and tampering with physical evidence charges were sentenced to run consecutively, Barbour would have been sentenced to ten total years.

Barbour was facing life in prison on a murder charge at the beginning of the trial.

Closing arguments began early on Day 7 of the trial that saw two completely different stories from each side.

Barbour's defense attorney Ken Garrett told the jury one last time that his client was innocent, and it was Kelsey Wallace that killed her daughter.

Garrett began his three hour closing argument by displaying a mugshot of Anthony Barbour with a black eye taken the day after he was arrested.

The defense attorney, centered his argument around mistakes made by Kentucky State Police.

"You are going to see in this case there was a rush to judgement because there was perceived vagina injuries."

Garrett asked the jury to look at the case with science and logic, not emotion.

"When you ignite a fire in a person's belly, you think with your gut and not your head. You think someone should be punished and you don't think about the evidence."

According to Garrett, Barbour covered for Kelsey Wallace, who he says really killed Laynee.

"Police had the statement of a liar, Kelsey Wallace, and a statement of a helper, Anthony Barbour."

Next, Garrett presented the first of what would be a few props in his closing argument.

A rolled of up piece of paper held together with a red bow, his nice list.

As he rolled the parchment to the floor, he read off names like his children, his pets, Judge John Alexander, and John Gardner.

Shortly after hearing his name uttered, Gardner objected loudly.

After a short conference with the judge, Garrett read off his naughty list. The names on the black piece of paper included KSP, Detective Adam Morgan, and Kelsey Wallace.

Garrett then referenced that Adam Morgan testified he took photos on October 9, 2015 when the blue Mickey Mouse shirt was found at the scene, and then also the following Monday at Kentucky State Police Post 3.

It was revealed through testimony and evidence, that Morgan didn't take any photos when the evidence was collected, just a few days later at KSP in Bowling Green.

Ken Garrett then referred to Detective BJ Burton, the lead detective in the missing child search, as BJ "Curtain".

Garrett said Burton only revealed the evidence to the jury he wanted them to see, citing the fact that Burton didn't look into disenfectant wipes or floor varnish on a door in the house Wallace and Barbour shared.

Garrett said when Kelsey Wallace lied to police in a May 2015 interview about her meth use it changed the whole investigation.

On May 20, 2015, Wallace was interviewed by KSP. In that interview she told them she didn't use drugs and neither did Anthony. In a later interview, Wallace admitted to using meth, but says she stopped in March 2015.

Barbour testified that he and Kelsey both injected meth the night before Laynee was murdered.

Garrett said that lie kept Wallace from being a suspect during the week long search for Barbour in Temple Hill.

"What is the effect of that simple lie? It's humongous!" shouted Garrett. "That is a misdirection put in place by none other than Kelsey Wallace."

Garrett said Kelsey Wallace took a bowl from the home before leaving during the week of Barbour's search. The bowl was given to her by Anthony as a Mother's Day gift.

"If someone killed your child would you expect a gift from them? No! You'd probably put a bullet in her head!"

The charges of rape, sodomy, and sexual assault are missing from the case. Garrett said someone may have done something, but the medical examiner also testified the injuries to Wallace's vagina could have come from self-infliction.

"The only sexual abuse in this case, is that lady justice has been sodomized," said Garrett to the jury.

Garrett said Laynee Wallace had nicotine in her system when she died. According to him, that nicotine came from a cigarette smoked by Kelsey Wallace on May 17, 2015, the day she was killed.

Barbour's attorney says when he bought cigarettes at the Temple Hill Minute Mart he only bought menthol's for Kelsey, not himself.

Garrett referred to Kelsey Wallace several times as "The Grinch." At one point he said she had a, "tiny, black heart."

The attorney also called her a liar, and a vixen several times. When it came down to how Laynee Wallace died, Garrett concluded it was an accident.

"Do I think Kelsey Wallace intentionally killed her child? No. I don't think there's a case here for murder."

Garrett kept his focus on Wallace as he closed, pointing out that she didn't call police for three days and that in 2016 when asked for a hair sample she denied the request.

Barbour's attorney told the jury he believes that Laynee was killed in the house by her mother and the floor varnish present on one of the doors was to hide a blood stain.

He presented the jury with two large photos of the blue shirt that was lost by a KSP lab. One of the photos was taken by Garrett at the scene of it being found, and the other was one Morgan took at KSP Post 3.

Garrett told the jury to look closely, insinuating that the shirt given to KSP, was not the same shirt that was sent off for testing, though he never explicitly made the claim.

Garrett asked the jury to find Barbour not guilty on all three charges of murder, tampering with physical evidence, and abuse of a corpse.

He said the body was placed in the safe and into the well to protect the corpse, not to abuse it.

Garrett told the jury Barbour's attempt was not to hide it from police, but to allow it to rest.

He ended his closing argument by ringing a bell, and referencing the movie "It's A Wonderful Life," in that every time you hear a bell ring, an angel gets its wings.

After Garrett closed, John Gardner got the chance to have the jury's ear one last time.

He started by addressing the defense's accusations against Kelsey Wallace.

Gardner said she got on the stand, testified, and has been in the courtroom ever since watching the proceedings.

When she was under oath, Gardner said everyone heard the mother loud and clear, "I did not hurt my child."

Gardner also used a quote to describe what he felt the defense's case was.

"It's possible that a tornado can blow through a junkyard and build a Greyhound bus."

Gardner said he supposed it was possible for things to happen the way Barbour said on the stand but it wasn't probable.

"Anthony Barbour and Kelsey Wallace are both guilty of bad decisions. She trusted the defendant. That was her mistake."

Gardner said that Garrett cited a difference in measurements in a hair that was tested by both KSP and then by the FBI.

The measurements were off by .3 centimeters according to the evidence. Gardner told the jury that Garrett's suggestion of the hair being different from lab to lab just isn't true.

That hair was the one found on the safe in teh bottom of the well that tested positive for chemical treatment, but did not test positive to Kelsey Wallace's DNA.

Gardner says when Anthony Barbour went arrowhead hunting with Kelsey Wallace and daughter Kynlee the afternoon Sunday May 17, 2015, the two-year-old noticed Barbour's boots were wet.

Gardner told the jury it proves that earlier in the day Barbour was out in the field with Laynee.

Barbour initially told police he left the back door of the house open when he left Monday, and that's how he got back in on Wednesday to leave a note of guilt.

"You have direct evidence that the defendant is responsible for Laynee's death."

"You also heard him say, 'Laynee is in heaven because of me.'"

Gardner does concede that when Barbour first told police that Laynee died when she fell off a bluff it was false.

However, Gardner told the jury he didn't do that to cover for Kelsey Wallace. Instead, he did it to minimize his responsibility in the crime.

The medical examiner who performed Laynee's autopsy discussed acute injuries, meaning they happened before her death and didn't have time to heal.

Gardner listed a laceration to her scalp near her right eye, marks on skull, hemorrhaging on back of her head, and bruises to the jury.

He also mentioned the injuries Laynee had to her genitalia.

Gardner said the only reason Barbour isn't charged with rape, sodomy, or sexual abuse is because he couldn't prove any of those things beyond a reasonable doubt.

"It's noteworthy when you have a child found naked, at the bottom of the well, with injuries."

He reminded the jury that the medical examiner could neither rule in a sexual assault or rule it out.

Gardner then moved on to hairs forcibly removed from Laynee's head and blood found in the car last driven by Barbour alone.

He told the jury that the blood and hair were found exclusively in the front passenger seat of the car and not in the back seat.

In Barbour's testimony, he told the jury Kelsey Wallace struck Laynee Wallace more than once as the family was arrowhead hunting and after being dragged to the car by the hair, her mother placed her in the back seat.

In their closing argument the defense insinuated that Morgan planted evidence according to Gardner. "Absolutely no proof to that. Absolutely nothing. That argument does not make any sense at all."

Gardner also told the jury that the medical examiner found Laynee's death to be "homicide by undetermined means." There were no anatomic findings

The defense eluded to a breathing problem according to Gardner. He said if she died in a manner that involved that, it would have shown up.

Gardner said the body being submerged in water for over a week contributed to some issues with autopsy results.

Gardner referred to the amount of circumstantial evidence as a mound.

The Commonwealth Attorney said Barbour running for multiple days, and driving away quickly from police was a sign of guilt.

"Evidence of flight is evidence of guilt."

Gardner also cited the note left on the refrigerator by Barbour telling everyone the child was dead.

"You do that because you've got a guilty conscience. Your trying to tell your mother you killed her child."

Barbour said he called his mom and told her she had fallen to minimize his responsibility.

Gardner reminded the jury he told his mom he was going to kill himself if police got close.

He also hammered home the fact that Barbour tampered with physical evidence by putting the body in the well.

"He disposed of the body. He didn't bury this body. That's not a burial. That's trying to cover up something you've done. A place only he knows. Kelsey didn't know about that well. Anthony knew about that well."

"He wasn't burying that child. He was covering it up so nobody would find it."

In Barbour's testimony, he stated that when he got home from being alone for a few hours in the woods Sunday, he stated Kynlee was awake.

Gardner said at some point she fell asleep in Barbour's story and "they go out to the well where he buries her twin sister."

Gardner also expressed doubt that if Barbour knew and saw Kelsey abuse her child, strike her in the face, he would cover for her so Laynee could be raised by an abusive mother.

"Does that make sense?"

One of Gardner's final points was that, Barbour told the jury he bought one pack of cigarettes on Sunday at the Temple Hill store for Kelsey.

Gardner played the surveillance video from the purchase and told the jury to watch as two cigarette packs were grabbed by the clerk.

Gardner ended his argument by stating that two car seats were in the back of the car when police found it Tuesday, meaning there would have been no room for a safe as Barbour said.

Gardner also reminded no signs of CPR could be seen in the autopsy.

Barbour told police in 2015 he performed CPR on Laynee for 30 minutes after she fell, and on the stand Wednesday he told the jury he performed CPR inside the house for 5 minutes after discovering the body.

"This was not some mere accident. There's evidence she was struck and bleeding. There's evidence hairs were forcibly removed from her head. There's been proof in this case that it was intentional, I don't know why he did it, but I believe his conscience objective at some point that day to kill that child."

Gardner told the jury Barbour should be found guilty of murder, tampering with physical evidence, and abuse of a corpse.

"This was not a burial. This was not treating this child properly. I don't believe I have to say anything more than that."

He ended his case with an audio clip from May 2015 when Barbour was interviewed by KSP.

"She's dead now because of me. I feel guilt for everybody. I feel sorry for her sister. I feel sorry for her mother, because of the actions that I took."

Judge John Alexander instructed the jury on charges of murder, wanton murder, manslaughter second degree, reckless homicide, tampering with physical evidence, and abuse of a corpse.