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Nashville Man Named Suspect in Murder

By Dale Gathright, Jr., 07/11/20 8:22 AM


ATHENS – Howard County Sheriff Bryan McJunkins has released more details and a suspect’s name in a Friday morning murder in northern Howard County.

McJunkins said, “The Howard County Sheriff’s Office received a 9-1-1 call at 8:37 a.m. on July 10, 2020 reporting that someone had just shot Betty Burgess at her home located on Hwy 246 in Athens, Howard County. Sheriff’s deputies and investigators responded along with Arkansas State Police, Drug Task Force Investigators, Pike County Sheriff’s Office and Arkansas Game & Fish.”

The Sheriff continued, “We learned from witnesses that the person that shot Betty was (allegedly)Tony Barnes, 56 of Nashville, and that he (allegedly) stood at the back door of her house and shot her twice with a shotgun. (The suspect) left Burgess’ residence with a shotgun in his orange Ford Ranger.”

Betty Burgess was pronounced dead at the scene by Howard County Coroner John Gray. The Arkansas State Police investigated the scene while the Sheriff’s Office and other agencies started to look for suspect Tony Barnes. Barnes has a criminal history and Sheriff McJunkins said, “Local law enforcement officers are very familiar with him.”

A Warrant for Murder 1st Degree was issued for Barnes and a search warrant was executed at Barnes home on Muddy Fork Road north of Nashville. Barnes was last seen in his 2008, orange Ford Ranger with license plate Arkansas 200 UVJ.

Barnes is wanted at this time and his location is unknown. “Barnes is considered armed and very dangerous.” If anyone has information on Barnes’ location contact the Howard County Sheriff’s Office at 870-845-2626. Do not attempt to make contact with Barnes.