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.