Local News

Former N.C. State student pleads guilty in gazebo shooting

Posted January 7, 2009 10:46 a.m. EST
Updated March 9, 2009 5:12 p.m. EDT

— A former North Carolina State University student who prosecutors say pulled the trigger in a gang-related shooting at a university apartment complex last summer pleaded guilty Wednesday morning to his role in the crime.

Ryan Alexander Barnes, 21, who was arrested on an attempted first-degree murder charge, pleaded guilty to lesser charges of assault with intent to kill inflicting serious injury and assault with intent to inflict serious injury.

Superior Court Judge Ripley Rand sentenced Barnes to seven to 10 years in prison.

Wake County Assistant District Attorney Jimmy Wilson said Barnes used a .25-caliber pistol to shoot Clarence Grubbs and his girlfriend as they sat under a gazebo at Wolf Village Apartments on Gorman Street on July 28.

Barnes is one of five people been charged in the case.

Wilson said another man, Alex Dorsey, a leader of a Crips gang who was in jail at the time, ordered a hit on Grubbs because he was a witness in a robbery case.

Grubbs was shot five times but recovered. His girlfriend, Caroline Pittman, was shot in the foot.

In court, Barnes, who has no prior record, apologized for his actions.

His attorney, Nick Saparilas, said Barnes joined a gang at age 16 because he was picked on in school and that "he put his trust in the wrong people."

"This young man had a life that was exemplary, and this is an aberration," Saparilas said.

Leroy Barnes Jr., 19, who was also charged with attempted first-degree murder in the case and is unrelated to Ryan Barnes, also pleaded guilty Wednesday. He was sentenced to six to eight years on a charge of assault with intent to kill inflicting serious injury. He also apologized for his actions.

"I've been leading the gang life, and I want to change when I come home," he told Rand.

Rand ordered one other suspect in the case, Terrell Maurice Grimes, 16, to undergo psychological counseling to see if he can plea as an adult because of his age. His case will be reviewed in 90 days.

Wilson said in court Wednesday morning that the three men helped N.C. State University police get enough information to charge Dorsey with attempted first-degree murder and two counts of solicitation.

Dorsey pleaded guilty last month to the charges and is serving 20 to 25 years in prison.

Ryan Barnes' girlfriend at the time of the shooting, Whitney Blakeney, 20, also pleaded guilty last month to one misdemeanor count of obstruction of justice. She was given a 45-day suspended sentence and 18 months of supervised probation.