The gov's witness in the Erie "collar bomber" case, Kenneth E. Barnes, a pathological liar according to his family, has gotten his federal prison sentence cut in half in exchange for his lies (testimony). Barnes had his original sentence of 45 years halved on Monday at a closed hearing at the federal courthouse in Erie before U.S. District Judge Sean J. McLaughlin, according to court records. He is at the high-security U.S. Penitentiary II at Coleman, Fla., about 50 miles northwest of Orlando.
Crazy old white woman Marj Diehl-Armstrong, convicted primarily because of Barnes' lies, testified that Barnes was lying.
Barnes, a convicted drug dealer, testified that he pleaded guilty "to be on the right side of God." (God reportedly obtained a restraining order.)
Barnes pleaded guilty to using a destructive device during a crime of violence and conspiracy to commit bank robbery. The bank-robbery charge carried a maximum sentence of five years, which Barnes received, and the destructive-device charge carried a mandatory minimum sentence of 30 years and a maximum of life. Barnes got 40 years on that count. The government dropped a count of armed bank robbery, which carried a life sentence because Wells died.
Diehl-Armstrong was convicted of the felony of aiding and abetting an armed bank robbery that ended in a death, which carries the mandatory life sentence. She also was found guilty of aiding and abetting the use of a destructive device in a crime of violence, which carries the mandatory 30-year sentence, and she was convicted of conspiracy to commit bank robbery.
In originally sentencing Barnes, McLaughlin rejected the defense argument that Barnes had a limited role in the Wells plot. He said he went above the 30-year mandatory minimum in sentencing Barnes to 45 years to reinforce "the value that we, as a society, quite properly place on human life."
But evidently little regard for the truth.