Prosecutors in the 15th state district court continued to build their case against a 39-year-old Grayson County man on Wednesday.
Accused of using technology to solicit teenage boys for sexual performance, Joshua Barrier has pleaded not guilty to a laundry list of charges he faces in the cases that stem from 2016-17.
His attorney Rick Dunn told jurors that the Grayson County District Attorney’s Office can’t prove who the person was communicating with the teen through social media accounts bearing Barrier’s name and likeness. Dunn said Barrier left his social media page open after he used it at a public access computer at the Grayson County Law Library.
Barrier was found after hours in that county law library by law enforcement. The then law librarian told authorities that she had given Barrier permission to remain in the library after hours to work on legal research he said he was doing. Authorities contend that he was using the computers to do more than research and that the Internet provider’s address for some of the conversations Barrier had with the teens returned to the computers at the county law library.
Prosecutors contend that details Barrier told the teens about criminal charges he faced at the time of the conversations proves it was actually Barrier communicating with the teens.
Testimony in the trial showed that whoever was communicating with the teens was able to get them to talk to with apparent ease.
The testimony revealed that Barrier didn’t just get through the defense system at one school or home. He was talking to teen boys as young as 14 all across the area from Whitesboro to Bonham to Denison. It is alleged that Barrier reached some on school devices and others on home laptops or cell phones.
The teens accepted friend requests even though they didn’t know him in the real world.
They continued to talk to him, some for a period of weeks or more, even though the individual running the account admitted to being much older than them. The account said the user was in his mid to late 20s even though Barrier was actually in his middle to late 30s at the time.
The teens continued to talk to him even though he very quickly, in some instances in the first conversation, brought up inappropriate topics like sex, alcohol and disobeying authority figures.
Some of the teens testified that they sent him images of their genitalia after he requested the photos and questioned them about size.
At one point Tuesday, Barrier appeared to become upset when Prosecutor Matt Rolston showed the jury a photo of a penis that the teen on then stand said Barrier had sent to him.
Barrier accused the prosecutor of trying to embarrass Barrier with the photo.
One teen even admitted to jokingly asking the person who said he was Barrier to pay for the photos of the genitalia.
The person communicating with the teens gave them addresses and phone numbers that prosecutors said matched those on leases and college records traced back to Barrier.
Dunn’s questions to the teens pointed out that none of them actually ever met Barrier in person and that they could have blocked the communication at any time.
Barrier, who has a history of acting out in court to the point that the judge has had him removed from proceedings in the past, was allowed to stay in court through the teens’ testimony.
Late last year, a jury determined that despite those outbursts and claims that he thinks he is getting advice on the case from voices in his cell that he identifies as former Grayson County District attorneys Bob Jarvis and Joe Brown, Barrier is competent to stand trial.
The case will continue in court Thursday.