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Howard County Homicide Suspect Dead

By Dale Gathright, Jr., 07/12/20 8:56 AM


NASHVILLE – The suspect in a Howard County homicide is dead. Tony Barnes, 57, of Nashville, had been charged with 1st Degree Murder in the slaying of Betty Burgess, 50, of Athens Friday morning (July 10th). Witnesses had allegedly seen Barnes fire two shotgun blasts in the back door of Burgess’ home, before fleeing and setting off a multi-county, multi-agency manhunt.

Howard County Sheriff Bryan McJunkins said his office started receiving calls around noon Saturday that Barnes was seen traveling from the Newhope area and on Highway 369, south toward his home on the Muddy Fork Road near Nashville.

Deputies and other officers from several agencies started to set up near the residence. They learned Barnes had arrived a few minutes before officers. McJunkins said officers positioned themselves around Barnes’ house and property. He said the officers learned Barnes was near a pond bank on his property. McJunkins said officers could see Barnes with a “long gun” which was determined to be a shotgun. They continued to observe Barnes. “At approximately 1:10 pm officers heard a single gunshot fired and cautiously approached Barnes. Officers then saw that he (Barnes) had used the shotgun to kill himself, ” Sheriff McJunkins said.

The Sheriff thanked the many agencies involved, including his office’s personnel, Nashville Police Department, Arkansas State Police, Pike County Sheriff’s Office, 9th Judicial Task Force, Arkansas Game and Fish, and others.

“The Howard County Sheriff’s Office extends our sympathy and prayers to the families of Betty Burgess and Tony Barnes during this senseless tragedy,” Sheriff McJunkins said.