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Thursday, August 30, 2018 1:00 am

Barnett pleads guilty before trial

Shifts tactic on October slaying as jurors gather

MATTHEW LEBLANC | The Journal Gazette

Deedee Barnett told police last year he shot a man to death because “he caused chaos in the neighborhood and yelled at people.”

“You got me,” Barnett told Fort Wayne police detectives after the Oct. 25 shooting, according to a probable cause affidavit.

Barnett told a judge Wednesday he killed Brian Lowe Jr., 31, and pleaded guilty to murder in Allen Superior Court. His trial had been scheduled to start Wednesday, and potential jurors were gathered downstairs at the courthouse as Barnett, 39, entered the plea in a third-floor courtroom.

According to court documents, Lowe was sitting in a friend's car in the 1000 block of Lake Avenue around 11:30 a.m. when Barnett walked over to the vehicle and fired a shot through the passenger-side window. The driver was unharmed and sped away with his injured passenger.

Lowe died two days later, and Barnett was charged with murder, which was paired with a firearms enhancement, which prosecutors agreed to drop.

Barnett faces up to 65 years in prison for the murder. A sentencing hearing is scheduled Sept. 28.

Detectives interviewed Barnett a few hours after the shooting, and he said he and Lowe had “gotten into it” earlier that morning, the affidavit states. He said he shot Lowe, but he didn't know where he was hit, police said.

“Can I just plead guilty in the morning?” Barnett asked officers who took him to jail, according to the affidavit.

In court Wednesday, Barnett told Allen Superior Court Judge Fran Gull he was not satisfied with his court-appointed attorney, Albert Anzini, and suggested he disagreed with the advice to plead guilty. Gull pressed him and said he wasn't required to plead guilty.

Barnett quickly changed his mind and pleaded guilty.

mleblanc@jg.net