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Wife implicated in 2003 Miami-Dade hit on husband for insurance money

In November 2003, Jeffrey Ricardo Barr walked out his North Miami-Dade duplex and a gunman put a bullet into his head, leaving his crumpled body on the sidewalk.

For eight years, his murder remained shrouded in mystery until last week, when Miami-Dade prosecutors charged his wife in his death.

An in-law finally came forward to reveal what happened, investigators said: Janet Barr, 42, plotted her husband’s demise in a scheme to collect his life insurance.

Now, Barr and an accomplice, suspected gunman, Javon Quentin Robinson, 32, are behind bars, charged with first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder. They have pleaded not guilty and Barr’s defense attorney could not be reached for comment.

Newly released court documents reveal details of the shooting. Jeffrey Barr, a longtime Winn-Dixie warehouse forklift driver, met Janet in the late 1980s. She and his relatives had never gotten along — his sister described Janet Barr as “evil” and “very devious,” always stirring up family strife and cursing out her in-laws.

“From the day Jeff was killed, everyone assumed she set the whole thing up,” said sister Cathy Barr-Robinson. “He had no enemies.”

In the weeks before the killing, Jeffrey Barr — a soft-spoken father of three —was preparing to leave her, even moving clothes and other belongings to his parents’ house.

This is what happened, according to arrest warrants prepared by prosecutor Tim VanderGiesen and Miami-Dade Detective David Denmark:

Initially, his wife told Miami-Dade homicide detectives she was in the living room sorting laundry when she heard gunshots and yelling. She said she ran outside to find her husband face down, bleeding, and no one around.

The shooting did not appear to be a robbery: Jeffrey Barr still sported his gold necklace and bracelet.

Detectives long suspected Janet Barr was behind the slaying, but never had enough evidence to arrest her. The warrant did not indicate how much insurance money was collected.

The break came in March 2009, when Janet Barr’s cousin, William Lewis Taylor, jailed in Escambia County, came forward with details on the shooting.

He claimed that Janet Barr had approached him to kill her husband “because he was abusing her and she wanted to collect insurance money,” according to an arrest warrant. Taylor claimed he refused, but agreed to “be present for the murder to make sure the job got done.”

Janet Barr went to great lengths to find a killer, prosecutors say, even asking a man who worked at a family car wash business. He declined “because he did not have a gun,” the warrant said.

Finally, Barr found someone nicknamed “J Loo,” who police now identify as Robinson, an ex-con who had just been released from prison.

That night, Robinson, wielding a .38 or .357 caliber pistol, picked up Taylor and they drove toward the duplex, parking around the corner. Janet Barr called Taylor to let him “know the victim was outside,” according the warrant.

Taylor waited in the car while Robinson got out. Two gunshots rang out and Robinson came rushing back, police said, telling Taylor that he’d missed the first shot but connected with the second.

The physical evidence corroborated the account. Jeffrey Barr’s fatal wound was a shot to the back of the neck, but he also had a gunpowder burn on his face from the first, errant shot.

Taylor, who is not being charged, will be a key prosecution witness.

Barr was arrested in Vero Beach, where she had been living in recent years. Robinson was arrested at his North Miami-Dade house.

Miami Herald

Written by lordsinsurancelog

July 21, 2011 at 5:54 pm

Posted in Insurance News