Plea continued for man facing officer assault, weapons charges

Joel Barnes, 40

The case of a Morgan Hill man who allegedly drove a truck at
sheriff’s deputies and evaded them three times this past summer was
continued while attorneys collect more evidence.
The case of a Morgan Hill man who allegedly drove a truck at sheriff’s deputies and evaded them three times this past summer was continued while attorneys collect more evidence.

Joel Barnes, 40, has yet to enter a plea on 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 will trail the felony charges, including Barnes’ most egregious offense, the assault on a police officer, prosecutors said.

The charges carry more than 20 years of possible prison time.

The number and sheer variety of charges Barnes faces have prevented him from entering a plea at previous hearings.

Although Barnes will next appear in court 8:30 p.m. April 1 in Department 110 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 last summer as they attempted to arrest him on warrants for felony false imprisonment and assault, and ran from Morgan Hill police on one occasion, prosecutors said.

Barnes provoked deputies into shooting at him while he escaped their capture by driving his truck at them, police said. 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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