Local News

Man enters plea in Clayton woman's brutal death

Posted February 2, 2009 7:19 p.m. EST
Updated February 3, 2009 1:52 p.m. EST

— A man entered an Alford plea Monday to harassing and killing his ex-girlfriend almost three years ago.

Dennis Shaw pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the April 18, 2006, death of Rhonda Barnes in her Clayton home.

A judge will hear testimony Tuesday before sentencing Shaw, who admits prosecutors have enough evidence to convict him but not that he committed the crime.

As part of the plea, Shaw also had to admit that Barnes suffered greatly before dying, an aggravating factor that could add to the prison time Shaw receives.

Second-degree murder carries a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison.

Police said Shaw tormented Barnes, 38, the mother of his child, for a year before killing her, including spray-painting obscenities on her house and vandalizing her car.

Two days before her death, she told police she feared for her life.

She was killed by a blow to the head, but authorities said her body was burned beyond recognition after sulfuric acid was poured on her.

Prosecutors said Monday that blood was found throughout her Grovewood Drive house, leading from the front porch to the kitchen, where her body was found