Jurors took a little more than 30 minutes Wednesday afternoon to convict Joshua Barrier of six counts of online solicitation. Thursday, the same jury will begin hearing punishment evidence in the case.
Barrier was not in the courtroom when the verdict was returned. He had not, in fact, been in the courtroom for most of Wednesday as the prosecution wrapped up its case against him.
Barrier was brought into the courtroom early Wednesday morning but almost immediately told Judge Jim Fallon that he wanted to leave. He said he was unwell and then launched into a tirade about his treatment at the Grayson County Jail and his time there.
Barrier has been in jail for more than two years while awaiting trial on the charges he faced this week in the 15th state District Court.
He has had three attorneys in the case and Wednesday told Fallon that he needed another after taking issue with the way Rick Dunn had represented him. Barrier claimed that Dunn had not been to see him and had not provided him with documents for his case. However, Fallon countered that Barrier had refused to see Dunn when he visited the jail to spend time with Barrier.
Barrier responded that he had been too sick to meet with his attorney at that time, and he needed more time to work on his case.
Late Wednesday afternoon, Barrier was brought into the courtroom in a wheelchair while the jury was out of the room. Fallon once again asked Barrier if he intended to take part in the trial by remaining quiet and working with his attorney. Barrier immediately launched into a laundry list of complaints he had against everyone from the police officers who arrested him to the jail medical staff who have treated him, to the judge himself.
When Barrier continued to speak over the judge, Fallon had him removed from the courtroom.
In his closing statement, Dunn said several witnesses testified that they could not say for sure that his client was the person talking to the teens in question on the Facebook account with his name on it. Dunn reminded jurors that a Grayson County Sheriff’s officer had testified that Barrier’s Facebook account was open on a computer at the Grayson County Law Library the morning after Barrier was escorted out of that library back in April of 2017.
Barrier had been found there after midnight after being allowed to remain after closing hours by the then law librarian.
Assistant Grayson County District Attorney Matt Rolston told jurors they wouldn’t find the proof that it was Barrier communicating with the teens in just one place. He reminded them that many of the communications with the teens, some as young as 14, had included phone numbers and addresses where they were to reach Barrier. Those numbers and addresses traced directly back to Barrier.
Additionally, Rolston said the communication included details about Barrier’s run-ins with the law that only Barrier would have known at that time.
Jurors will consider just what type of punishment Barrier should face for the crimes when they return to the 15th state District Court Thursday.