Police: Man receives accidental call from ex-boss plotting death

Published: May. 31, 2014 at 1:40 AM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn
Larry Barnett (Source: Craig head County Sheriff's Department)
Larry Barnett (Source: Craig head County Sheriff's Department)

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - The man accused of butt-dialing an employee he was plotting to kill will appear in court on June 30.

He's had two probable cause hearings in as many days for two felonies from two separate investigations.

Larry Barnett appeared in court on Friday. His case was continued to February 28.

Barnett bonded out of jail on November 26. Police say he conspired to kill one of his former employees and committed forgery at his bank a number of times.

"He was falsifying bills of sale and turning them into a local bank and receiving money for those bills of sale. Getting money for vehicles that were not there," lead investigator on the case, Jason Simpkins told Region 8 News.

For months, Jonesboro Police and the Secret Service have been investigating Larry Barnett. He owns Legend Motor Company on South Stadium Boulevard and police say through their investigation, they've found he schemed his bank out of tens of thousands of dollars.

"Right now, it's gonna be over $80,000," Simpkins said.

JPD, in conjunction with the Secret Service, was notified about the scheme back in May This means they were already looking into Barnett's banking records when they received a phone call last week from his former employee saying he'd overheard Barnett plotting his death.

At this point, JPD has not confirmed if these two separate investigations are connected.

JPD's investigation of Barnett's records show he'd handwritten several bills of sale and that he bought the vehicles from neighboring car dealerships. Turns out though, Barnett never bought those vehicles, he just allegedly took the VINs from vehicles on neighboring lots and forged them on a different bill of sale.

A probable cause affidavit states he was also taking VINs from "park and sell" lots and detail shops or just making them up.

Simpkins told Region 8 News that right now, many details to this case are still under investigation, including whether we can anticipate more arrests to come.

"There's still some evidence that has to be processed and still some subpoenas and what not that have to be issued."

In court Tuesday afternoon, Barnett's bond remained the same at $50,000, set from Monday for his charge of conspiracy to commit capital murder.

Police say they do anticipate more arrests in that case but right now, there are no new developments.

Copyright 2013 KAIT. All Rights Reserved.


JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - The owner of a used car dealership in Jonesboro was arrested after police say he conspired to commit murder.

Court documents state the supposed target found out about the alleged hit after he was accidentally made a part of the conversation.

Jonesboro police told Region 8 News, unbeknownst to 68-year-old Larry Barnett of Jonesboro, while he was hiring someone to kill his former employee, he let the target in on it and explained in detail how and why he wanted it done.

Sergeant Doug Formon with JPD explained it started when Barnett, who owns Legend Motor Company on South Stadium Boulevard, accidentally called his former employee.

"Basically, he overheard a conversation between that individual and another unknown male and he was giving out his personal information, his address, where he lives," Sgt. Formon explained.

According to the probable cause affidavit, Barnett told the supposed hitman, "I don't care if you have to burn his house to the ground with him in it" and to "make it look like an accident."

From there, the target called JPD. Since he lives in Greene County, their sheriff's department was called in to assist. When they arrived at the intended target's home, the accidental phone call had been going on for an hour and a half.

"The conversation on the phone had already ended but the phone call was still active to Mr. Barnett's cell phone."

It seems it didn't take long for the hitman to act. Court documents state the target went to the police department to fill out a report after the phone call. When he returned home, police say it had been burglarized and his gas stove had been tampered with.

During the phone call, the target overheard that Barnett had attempted to have him killed once prior but "they couldn't get the job done". He told the unknown man he would pay him $5,000 up front and "the remainder when the job was done."

The target said he overheard Barnett give his reasoning behind the murder for hire plot as well. "I owe the little son of a ***** a bunch of money and if he's gone, I don't have to pay for it."

During an interview with police, Barnett admitted to mistakenly calling the intended victim as well as discussing his phone number and address to that unidentified man.

"I've been here now for 25 years and I've never recalled a time when a subject has accidentally, if you will, 'butt-dialed' someone they're either trying to commit a crime against or the possible victim of the crime," Formon said.

Barnett's temporary bond was set at $1 million, however in court Monday, it was lowered to $50,000. That, however, could change in the coming days.

Since his probable cause hearing for the conspiracy to commit murder investigation, Barnett is facing separate charges for felony theft greater than $25,000 and felony forgery.

Jonesboro Police say Barnett was falsifying documents for his bank. As Barnett owns Legend Motor Company, police say he would forge VIN numbers for vehicles that didn't exist, so he could receive loans. Police say that amounted to over $100,000 he stole from his bank.

Barnett is expected to be in court Tuesday for his two new charges.

Region 8 News will continue to track this story as it unfolds.

Copyright 2013 KAIT. All Rights Reserved.