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Stuttgart officer’s suspected killer had mental, legal woes

by Eplunus Colvin | December 16, 2022 at 2:56 a.m.
An Arkansas County Sheriff's unit blocks Yoder Road Thursday just south of Stuttgart and north of the home where a man, who was believed to have killed a Stuttgart police officer, was killed in a shootout with state police. (Pine Bluff Commercial/I.C. Murrell)

The person believed to have fired the bullet that killed Stuttgart Police Sgt. Donald Scoby had a history of violent and threatening behavior as well as mental health problems, according to police reports and court filings.

After the shooting that killed Scoby, Jacob Cole Barnes, 31, of Mountain View, took refuge in a home south of Stuttgart where a woman had barricaded herself. The state police were able to free her. After a standoff that lasted for several hours, Barnes was fatally wounded during an exchange of gunfire with SWAT team members Thursday morning.

Court documents show Barnes, who was a Stuttgart High School graduate, not only had a criminal record but also apparently battled mental health problems and drug abuse.

According to court documents, Barnes was arrested on April 29 for felony aggravated assault after pointing an AR-15 at a police officer. He also was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, refusal to submit to arrest and disorderly conduct.

According to the affidavit, Sgt. Rick Crome of the Mountain View Police Department got a call across the radio saying a male subject was walking down Brewer Avenue carrying a weapon. Crome approached the area and activated his take-down lights and emergency overhead lights so that he could make contact with the subject. He said he observed Barnes with a raised AR-15 pointed in his direction.

Crome stopped his vehicle, drew his firearm from his holster and exited his patrol car to find cover after Barnes left the roadway and jumped behind some trees, according to the affidavit. Crome yelled at Barnes to drop and show his hands, but Barnes refused to show his hands. He did, however, lower his weapon, according to the affidavit. Crome stated there was a multiple-round magazine attached to the weapon. Barnes also had two fixed-blade knives on him and a full magazine for the AR-15 in his waistband, according to the report, as well as a "white tube" believed to be used for the ingestion of controlled substances. A bag and jacket in his possession were searched, and he was found to be in possession of a .40-caliber pistol along with two magazines.

Another affidavit says that, while Barnes was at the Stone County jail awaiting booking, he became irate and refused to be cuffed and began swinging his arm and legs in an apparent attempt to hit the jailer. Barnes bit the officer who was trying to restrain him, stated the affidavit. Jail officers later learned that Barnes, who tested positive for methamphetamine, was in possession of a white snorting device, according to the affidavit.

An order of protection was filed in June by Barnes' wife, who shares a young daughter with Barnes. The wife stated that Barnes was diagnosed with psychosis but that he had refused to take his medication.

The report stated Barnes became obsessed with cyberstalking. He believed people were out to kidnap his daughter and wife. Barnes became obsessed with firearms, security cameras and knives, purchasing all of those items along with a bulletproof vest, according to the report. His wife also said Barnes purchased drugs and had admitted to using meth.

The order cited specific incidents, which included paranoia resulting in acts of Barnes breaking a window, breaking a sliding door and threatening to shoot the floor while their daughter was sleeping in bed because he believed people had installed spying equipment in the house.

In a 2021 incident, according to the report, Barnes had an encounter with the Beebe Police Department after he asked the police to come to a hotel room where he was staying and collect evidence of cyberstalking. It was reported he was walking around the hotel with an AR-15. An arrest in Jonesboro involved a firearm, according to the report.

The wife stated in her order, regarding the April 29 incident, that Barnes' truck had broken down while he was trying to come home. She said he was under the impression that his stalkers had done something to his truck, causing it to break down. From there, he proceeded to walk down the road carrying his AR-15, pointing it and searching for the people he believed to be following him. A call to the police was made and when police arrived, he raised his firearm toward the officer. She said law enforcement officers were able to calm him down and arrest him.

Barnes then spent approximately three weeks at the Stone County jail with the agreement that he would enter Breaking Bonds, a Jonesboro treatment and rehab center. His wife said Barnes left the center after three days.

She said in her report that, after treatment, Barnes was fine for a while but then he began questioning her, believing she was the stalker. She wrote that Barnes "has scared me verbally" and for the safety of her daughter and extended family, she filed the protective order.

Leading up to the incident that began Wednesday night, Barnes' Facebook page gives a glimpse of his apparent paranoia. On Tuesday, Barnes made a post that read: "I believe attempts have been made to warn me. My life is still very much in danger, others possibly are as well."

He stated on Facebook that he found a notebook in his closet that he said belonged to his wife that kept track of his behavior and incidents.

Writing when he was in Maumelle at a hotel, he describes a maroon 1996 GMC Sierra pickup, similar to his, which he believes was being used to impersonate him. He also talked about leaving his hotel room and returning to find scratches on the inside of the hotel door that weren't there before and to his clothes and shoes, which he described as damaged, dirty and missing.

Several videos of Barnes show him frustrated, with him making statements of lost hope and nothing in life working out for him. He said he had lost everything and was sleeping in his truck.

In his last post at 7:34 a.m. Tuesday, he asked for legal assistance after getting an email from his attorney reminding him of his trial that day in Mountain View. Barnes' posts show he was adamant about not assaulting an officer and that he had been illegally charged.

The email from the attorney posted by Barnes stated there were no videos from the jail incident or the gun incident but that that doesn't mean the state will drop the charges, telling Barnes the state will call the officers involved, place them under oath and have them testify what happened.

The attorney suggested that, if Barnes wasn't satisfied with his representation, he could hire someone else and that the attorney would return the portion of the fee that Barnes had paid.

According to court documents, the trial date was pushed back to March 31, 2023.

  photo  A wreath and giant bow lay on the windshield of the police unit driven by Stuttgart police officer Donald Scoby outside the police headquarters Thursday. Scoby, 45, was shot to death and a state trooper was wounded after attempting to arrest Jacob Cole Barnes, 31, of Mountain View following a pursuit that ended south of Stuttgart. (Pine Bluff Commercial/I.C. Murrell)
  photo  Three women, including a Stuttgart police officer in uniform, lay a wreath and giant bow on the windshield of the police unit driven by fellow officer Donald Scoby outside the police headquarters Thursday. Scoby, 45, was shot to death and a state trooper was wounded after attempting to arrest Jacob Cole Barnes, 31, of Mountain View following a pursuit that ended south of Stuttgart. (Pine Bluff Commercial/I.C. Murrell)
  photo  The house south of Stuttgart where a man engaged in a shootout with a Stuttgart police officer and state trooper reportedly entered Wednesday night is pictured Thursday afternoon. The portion of Yoder Road leading to the home on Rieger Road was still cordoned off Thursday afternoon. (Pine Bluff Commercial/I.C. Murrell)

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