GULFPORT (WLOX) - A Harrison County jury has found Jonathon Barfield guilty of manslaughter in the shooting death of his estranged girlfriend Tiffany Talley. The jury diliberated almost six hours.
After closing arguments this morning Judge Lisa Dodson told jurors they could consider a charge of murder or manslaughter. The verdict means Barfield will not spend the rest of his life in prison.
Barfield has maintained the December 2006 shooting was a accident. Testifying in his own defense Wednesday, Barfield told the jury he did not intend to kill Talley, but he answered her knocks at the door of his FEMA trailer with a gun because he said living in a FEMA park was dangerous.
The 19-year-old defendant told the jury Talley bumped him as she entered the trailer, and the gun went off. Jurors also heard the 9-1-1 call Barfiled placed a few minutes after the shooting.
Prosecutors pointed to that call as one of the varying stories Barfield told authorities about the shooting. He told the 9-1-1 operator he and Talley had been playing with the weapon when it went off.
Sheriff's investigators told the jury two different stories they say Barfield related to them.
The conviction on the manslaughter charge carries a possible sentence of two to 20 years in prison. If Barfield had been convicted on the murder charge he would have face life in prison.
Though prosecutors wanted to sentence Barfiled right away, the defense requested a presentencing hearing, which Judge Dodson granted.
Assistant District Attorney Chris Schmidt told WLOX News he will recommend the maximum sentence for Barfield. Sentencing is set for August 25th.
On WLOX News at six, Danielle Thomas will have reaction from court Thursday, including an interview with Tiffany Talley's father.
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