Plea continued for Morgan Hill man

Joel Barnes, 40

A Morgan Hill man who police say drove a truck at sheriff’s
deputies en route to evading them three times this past summer
won’t enter a plea until his attorney completes her
investigation.
A Morgan Hill man who police say drove a truck at sheriff’s deputies en route to evading them three times this past summer won’t enter a plea until his attorney completes her investigation.

Joel Barnes, 39, faces a litany of charges ranging from misdemeanor battery to felony assault on a police officer and various weapons charges, including possession of a machine gun, carrying a concealed dagger and possession of a weapon commonly known as a sap. His misdemeanor charges, however, will trail the felony charges, said Deputy District Attorney Cindy Hendrickson, who is prosecuting Barnes’ most egregious offense, the assault on a police officer. The charges carry more than 20 years of possible prison time.

However, the number and sheer variety of charges will prevent Barnes from entering a plea in the near future, she said.

Barnes’ court appointed attorney said his charges require more investigation before her client is prepared to enter a plea.

Although Barnes will next appear in court 1:30 p.m. Feb. 8 in Department 109 at the South County Courthouse in Morgan Hill, the case may be continued again, attorneys said.

Barnes eluded Santa Clara County Sheriff’s deputies a total of three times this summer as they attempted to arrest him on warrants for felony false imprisonment and assault, and ran from Morgan Hill police on one occasion, Hendrickson said.

Barnes provoked deputies into shooting at him while he escaped their capture by driving his truck at them. Two days later, deputies cornered Barnes at a home in Watsonville. Barnes again ran from police but a SWAT team and canine officers found him hiding inside nearby bushes.

Barnes served 11 years for voluntary manslaughter after killing the mother of his child with a single stab wound to the chest in 1995.

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