EXCLUSIVE: Sister of Toppenish murder victim and mother of the suspect speaks out
TOPPENISH, Wash.- Prosecutors say a local man planned and carried out the murder of his own uncle.
He's now facing first degree premeditated murder charges for the killing of 68-year-old, Basil Emmons.
Justin Barnett, 38, appeared in court on Monday afternoon after Yakima Sheriff's Deputies say witnesses identified him as the person leaving the scene of his uncle's murder on Friday night in Toppenish at around 8 p.m.
Deputies say Barnett was arrested the following day, giving a recorded testimony admitting his guilt and describing the violent crime.
A crime that look place just within an hour, according to Barnett’s mother, while she was out cleaning her car.
"When we left he was laying in the bed. When we got back, I opened the front door and there he is laying in the floor wrapped in his blankets,” said Betty Emmons.
Deputies say Barnett admitted to dragging his uncle out of his bed, choking him with the cord from a vacuum, and then stabbing him multiple times in the neck.
Mrs. Emmons shared with me Emmons had dementia and had recently moved in with her, unable to care for himself.
At first, Mrs. Emmons said she thought Emmons had fallen until she saw the knife.
"That's when I screamed and I lost it, I did. I lost it, because one minute you're there and the next minute you're gone,” said Mrs. Emmons.
Mourning the loss of her brother, Mrs. Emmons quickly was notified the suspect deputies were looking for was her own son, taking another blow to her heart.
"Total devastation. I mean I just lost it all over again, because I just got my son back seven years ago," said Mrs. Emmons.
Mrs. Emmons says Barnett has a criminal history and a temper, previously facing murder charges for a friend's death. That was later reduced to first-degree man slaughter.
She says since then he's suffered from PTSD.
"God says get the word out there. There's too much violence in this world as it is and most of it's because those people that have mental issues can't get help," said Mrs. Emmons.
Mrs. Emmons says she's not ready to see her son, but her biggest question is why.
"Why baby? Why Justin? Why did you have to take his life? What tipped your trigger at that exact moment?” said Mrs. Emmons.
Mrs. Emmons says Emmons' last words to her were I love you and on Monday afternoon she had had the same words for him.
"I love him and I miss him. But I know he's in heaven with mom and dad and God's got him. God's got him. He's in god's hands now and so there's no more hurt. He doesn’t hurt anymore. His mind is clear. His body is good. It's not like it was when he was here and I hang on to that thought," said Mrs. Emmons.