Man Arrested in Barrett's Death, Three Others Face Charges

By: The Associated Press
By: The Associated Press

Authorities says a white supremacist lawyer found dead in his house had been stabbed, beaten and his body set afire. A neighbor has been charged with murder in the case.

Rankin County Sheriff Ronnie Pennington said Richard Barrett's body was found just after 8 a.m. Thursday after residents reported smoke coming from his house in a rural area outside Jackson, Miss.

Pennington said 22-year-old Vincent McGee has been charged with murder. He said additional charges could be forthcoming, including arson.

WLBT-TV reports that authorities are in the process of arresting three more people for being accessories after the fact. Officials say two helped the suspect and one lied to the sheriff's department about what he knew about the case.

McGee was released from Parchman in February, after serving five years for grand larceny, and assaulting two Rankin County officers.

Sources in Jackson say McGee had done work for Barrett from time to time.

"They knocked on every door, window, and they couldn't get anybody, couldn't get any response," said Barrett's neighbor, Randall Walker, whose son first noticed the fire. "The house was just full of smoke. And then my wife called 911 and they all got out here. Don't know much about him. He lived here several years, but he was kind of off to his self."

Barrett was a lawyer and Purple Heart veteran of the Vietnam War, who came to Mississippi from New Jersey in the 1960s.

Pennington said Friday that a preliminary autopsy showed Barrett had been stabbed multiple times in the neck and had blunt force trauma to the head. The sheriff said 35 percent of Barrett's body had been burned.

WLBT-TV contributed to this report.

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