Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Lakeland, FL: Woman Charged In Lakeland Man Ronnie Barnes' Stabbing Death

LAKELAND | Last summer a jury acquitted Natasha Turner of aggravated battery, clearing her of accusations that she slashed her boyfriend with a kitchen knife.

Less than a year later, Turner, 37, finds herself in Polk County Jail again, facing new charges that she stabbed Ronnie Barnes.

This time he died.

Lakeland police arrested Turner on Monday and charged her with third-degree murder in Barnes' death.

A police report said officers found Barnes, 63, dead about 2 a.m. Saturday at St. Luke's Life Center, a group of four-story apartment buildings on West Quincy Street.

Turner told officers she discovered Barnes lying face down in the living room of their apartment. The report says there were obvious signs of a struggle: furniture askew, including a blood-soaked couch, and a knife stored with her clothing and belongings in a closet. The weapon was also bloodied.

Turner and Barnes had argued that night and she attacked him with a knife, the report says, leaving him with wounds to his head, neck, arms and hands. After searching for traces of blood in areas of the apartment, officers found someone had attempted to clean the scene before they arrived.

A witness told detectives Turner had hid a backpack behind a tree in the 700 block of West Adams Street, the report says. Clothing found in the bag belonged to Turner and was covered with blood.

The Polk County Medical Examiner's Office on Monday ruled Barnes' death a homicide.

The police report also says Turner is on probation in connection with a charge of battering an officer.

The latest accusations against Turner are similar to those she was unsuccessfully prosecuted on in 2011.

The report says Barnes told officers they had argued and she grabbed a spoon from the kitchen and stabbed at him, and when that failed to injure him, she stabbed him multiple times with a small knife.

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