A former Alabama stripper named Tricia Abney has been arrested for a murder she allegedly committed 20 years ago, thanks to a witness who finally came forward about the crime.
According to the Huffington Post, Justin Barnett went missing back in 1995, an unsolved mystery that finally found resolution this year when Tricia Abney was charged with the murder and dismemberment of the 23-year-old man. A witness came forward six months ago claiming that he could no longer stand to live with the knowledge he was keeping from authorities. The identity of the witness and the evidence he provided has not been released to the public, but it led investigators to confirm Tricia Abney as the culprit of the horrific crime.
"It was weighing heavy on his mind," said Detective Talana Brown. "He couldn't eat, he couldn't sleep. I guess he just couldn't take it anymore."
Police in Birmingham, Alabama, had not even concluded that Justin Barnett's disappearance was a result of murder, and had no leads on who might have been responsible for the two-decades-old murder. Tricia Abney allegedly carried out the murder with the help of her boyfriend at the time, but the crime reportedly began as an attempted robbery.
According to AL.com, after Tricia Abney lured Justin Barnett into her apartment, she and her boyfriend ultimately ended up killing him and mutilating his body. The motivation for the murder is still unclear, as well as what happened in the apartment to provoke Tricia Abney into murdering him instead of simply stealing from him.
"They dismembered his body in the apartment and drove the remains to Centreville in Bibb County," said Cold Case Detective Jonathan Ross. "They buried the remains, and then came back to the apartment and tried to clean it up."
The fate of Justin Barnett remained unknown for 20 years, until the unnamed witness pointed police in the right direction. In addition to questioning Tricia Abney, investigators also spoke to her previous boyfriend and accomplice. The man did not cooperate with the police and committed suicide only six days after the crime was finally exposed. He was the only person who knew where Barnett's body was buried, but Tricia Abney confessed to the crime shortly after, according to People.
"I think it was weighing on her as well, but if it wasn't for the other witness, she wouldn't have come forward," said Detective Brown.
The cold case detectives brought the evidence to the county district attorney's office, which led to the arrest of Tricia Abney and the charge of capital murder.
What do you think is an appropriate sentence for Tricia Abney?