Michael Reed didn’t fire the shot that killed Vincent Barnes. But the 29-year-old received a life prison sentence today for his role in leading his brother to Barnes’ apartment during a bachelor party the night of May 15, 2009.
Robert Reed had been scheduled to be married the next day. Michael Reed took his younger brother out drinking with a friend, Jeremy Trout. In September, a jury convicted Michael Reed of first-degree murder.
Michael Reed is serving a longer sentence than his brother, who pleaded guilty to firing the gun, or Trout, which drew a request from the defense to consider a shorter prison term.
Witnesses said Michael Reed had been at a bar with Robert Reed and Trout. Michael Reed wanted to buy cocaine and became angry when Barnes hung up on him. Barnes didn’t have drugs that night and was trying to turn his life around, his family said.
By all accounts, Michael Reed drove over to Barnes’ apartment and helped initiate a fight that would end in Barnes' death. Trout had testified Michael Reed gave his brother the gun.
"Those actions took the joy of a wedding and replaced it with the pain of taking a life," Sedgwick County Judge Jeff Syrios said.
Bill Barnes told the court his son was trying to protect his sister, who lived a couple of doors away and was in the apartment that night. When an argument broke out, Alexia Barnes said she ran out of the apartment and Robert Reed pointed a gun at her.
"As far as I’m concerned, he gave his life up for his sister," Bill Barnes said. "She’s never been the same."
Syrios added 18 months to the life sentence, after the jury also convicted Michael Reed of aggravated assault, as an accomplice for the gun being pointed at Alexia Barnes.
Robert Reed is serving a sentence of more than 19 years and Trout 11 years after pleading guilty to lesser charges of second-degree murder.
Michael Reed apologized to the Barnes family.
“Every day I live, I think about this, ” Reed said. “I ask myself why this happened. I don’t know. A drunken, fun night turned into hell.”