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Cooke County murder trial ends; life sentence handed down

By: Morgan Downing Email
By: Morgan Downing Email

GAINESVILLE, TX -- More than a year after the gruesome murder of 22-year-old Linda Barrett, her boyfriend, Juan Rodriguez-Olivas, is convicted of the crime. Morgan Downing was in the courtroom as he was sentenced to life in prison, and brings us the details of the trial.

It took a jury just two hours of deliberation to decide on life in prison for Juan Rodriguez-Olivas.

"We need a life sentence to protect society. This guy is dangerous, stabbed that woman 31 times," Assistant District Attorney Ron Poole said.

22-year-old Linda Barrett's body was found inside a trash bag in a closet of a Gainesville home in June 2012.

Barrett's ex-husband, Vance Burns says she was always lively, fun to be around and witty.

"It's going to be hard living life without her. Can't see her every day, this and that. Just the simple things in life that you enjoy, to be around your friends and family. It's no longer there," Burns said.

During the trial, Rodriguez-Olivas first claimed self defense, saying Barrett came at him with a knife during an argument.

His attorney, Anthony Farmer, said much of the evidence presented was gathered when their client was unlawfully detained.

"We feel strongly that our client's fourth and fifth amendment rights were violated," Farmer said.

Finally, Rodriguez-Olivas claimed it was a crime of passion. He says Barrett told him she had aborted their baby.

A doctor testified that because Barrett's body was decomposed, it was unclear whether she had been carrying a child or if she had an abortion.

"So, he never would get something and stick with it," Poole said.

Barrett's family and friends say they may never know the truth of what led to the murder. But, they say they believe Rodriguez-Olivas got what he deserved.

"We believe it was the right thing," Burns said.

Burns says the verdict and sentence bring closure, but not a lot of comfort.

"There are no winners in this situation for the deceased, for our client, our client's family, for the victim's family. So, of course the family of our client is very remorseful. They're very hurt," Farmer said.

Linda Barrett's grave is without a headstone. If you'd like to make a donation, a fund has been set up at Richard's Monument Company in Gainesville.

Richard's Monument Company
111 E. Broadway Street
Gainesville, TX 76240

940-665-2491


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