A Modesto man has been sentenced to prison for his role in the fatal shooting of a single father outside a Turlock apartment complex in 2016.
Kevin Jerome Barnes, Jr., 21, was sentenced to the maximum sentence of six years in state prison for being an accessory to murder in the death of Falane Jones, 37. Previously a jury convicted Devenae Price, 28, of Ceres of second-degree murder and he was sentenced to 60 years-to-life.
Jones was with his uncle at the Villas Parkside Apartments at 381 W. Hawkeye Ave. on the night of April 23, 2016. Shortly before 10 p.m., the pair where in the parking lot of the apartment complex when a black car pulled in and the driver opened fire at Jones.
Jones was struck four times in the face, chest and neck. He was rushed to a nearby hospital, where he died from his injuries.
“Falane Jones was a single father of 9-year-old Falanie, named after him,” said his mother during a victim impact statement at sentencing. “He worked hard in a warehouse in Tracy to feed, clothe and raise her.”
Jones was not involved in any criminal activity and the prosecution believed he was gunned down because Price mistakenly thought he was someone else.
The car was described by witnesses as a black Lexus and investigators found two spent .40 caliber casings were located on the ground near where Jones was shot. Both would prove to be key evidence in the case.
On April 25, 2016 at approximately 11:15 pm, an Alameda County Sheriff’s deputy got into a pursuit with a black Lexus after an attempted traffic stop in San Leandro. The driver of the Lexus, later identified as Price, sped away down a dead-end street before crashing the vehicle into a house.
Price, Barnes and their girlfriends all fled from their car. A perimeter was established in the San Leandro neighborhood and Price, along with Kelley Trezvant of Modesto and Deandranae Campbell of Livingston were taken into custody. Barnes was not located at the time.
It was after the arrests that information began to develop about the homicide, leading the sheriff’s department to contact Turlock Police Department investigators.
Two spent shell casings — a brass one and a silver were found in the cowl area of the Lexus, referring to the space between the hood and the windshield. The shell casings matched two other shell casings recovered at the Turlock scene, according to court records. Law enforcement also found a loaded .40 caliber handgun in the Lexus.
A Department of Justice ballistics test confirmed that the two shell casings found at the scene of the murder matched the two shell casings that were recovered from the cowl of the black Lexus, although the firearm that was recovered did not match.
Trezvant and Campbell were initially charged with being accessories after the fact, but the charges were later dismissed.
Barnes was apprehended May 1, 2016 when he was stopped by a San Francisco police officer for an unrelated matter. Barnes initially provided that agency with a false name, but during the course of their investigation, they determined Barnes was a wanted person by the Turlock Police Department.
Cell phone records indicate that Price and Barnes were at the location of the murder during the time of the shooting in Turlock as well as at the location of the vehicle stop in San Leandro.
Barnes admitted that he had been dropped off at the apartment complex just prior to the shooting. He said he was entering the apartment of his girlfriend when he heard the shots and got down on the ground. A short time later he was in the apartment when Jones’ uncle came in and said his nephew had just been shot. According to the testimony, Barnes at one point yelled out that he didn’t do it that it was Nate.
There had been an ongoing debate during the trial as to whether he said Nate or Nae, which the prosecution pointed out is a shortened version of Devenae.
While Price was in custody at the Stanislaus County Jail authorities intercepted a letter in which he instructs his mother to tell his friends how to answer certain questions when investigators came around. Specifically, he states that he and Barnes will say the same story about Nate and that his friends should say they never met a man named Nate in person and only talked to him on the phone. Both Price and Barnes have pointed to Nate, a Crip weed dealer from Stockton, as the real killer. Deputy District Attorney Jeff Mangar, who prosecuted the case, told the jury Nate is a made-up person that the two have tried to pin the crime on.
Price had just been released from prison for approximately 35 days when he committed the murder after serving a seven-year prison sentence for armed robbery in Contra Costa County. It was later discovered that Price had received the black Lexus from an Oakland dealership just hours before the murder.
Barnes was on probation out of Sacramento County for residential burglary when he committed the current offense.