Sentencing postponed for teen in shooting of Miami-Dade police officer

The sentencing of Willie Barney, the teen convicted of robbing and trying to murder a Miami-Dade police officer who was shot point-blank in the chest outside a Little Haiti church, has been postponed.

Circuit Judge Jorge Rodriguez-Chomat will sentence Barney on May 13. Barney, who already has an armed robbery conviction on his record, likely will face life in prison.

Jurors on Friday convicted Barney, 19, in the attack on Officer Wislyn Joseph, but they were clearly not convinced that Barney wielded the weapon. They convicted him of lesser crimes – robbery with no firearm and attempted murder with aggravated battery.

Investigators said Barney and two other men confronted Joseph in September as Joseph finished installing an awning at the Union Christian Bible Church.

Prosecutors said Barney snatched a bracelet and two chains off Joseph, then shot him with a .45-caliber pistol. The men escaped in a red Pontiac.

As a fellow officer rushed him to the hospital, Joseph described the car and the suspects to dispatchers. The bullet missed every organ and bone.

Seven hours later, detectives pulled over Pontiac with the men. The pistol was in the back seat.

During last week’s trial, Joseph identified Barney as the shooter.

Barney was linked to the crime by DNA evidence found on Joseph’s wrist, where the robbers brushed the officer’s skin while snatching his bracelet.

Defense attorney Robert Barrar argued that the DNA wasn’t conclusive and that Joseph misidentified Barney. He also pointed out that the DNA found on the gun itself belonged to a co-defendant, not Barney.

But Barney’s legal woes are not close to being over. He is facing several other robbery charges, as well as a murder charge from a killing in Miami Gardens.

Read more Afternoon Update stories from the Miami Herald

Miami Herald

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category