A former Alamance County man who was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to death in June 1984 – and whose sentence was overturned by the North Carolina Supreme Court in 1987 – has been granted parole, the state parole commission announced Monday.
Earl Jackson Barts, white male, now 80, was convicted of in the 1983 murder of Richard Braxton, a 74-year-old farmer who lived alone in Snow Camp and was known to carry large sums of cash, according to the case background.
Along with several accomplices who were later convicted for their roles in conspiring to rob Braxton at his home in Snow Camp on November 19, 1983, Barts was convicted of first-degree murder; second-degree burglary; robbery with a dangerous weapon; conspiracy to commit robbery; and breaking/entering and larceny.
Earl Barts was initially sentenced to death, which was later overturned by the North Carolina Supreme Court. He was subsequently sentenced to life in prison, plus additional concurrent sentences totaling 76 years.
Sentencing laws that were in place when Barts was convicted provided for the possibility of parole. North Carolina’s current Structured Sentencing laws eliminated parole for crimes committed on or after October 1, 1994, according to the N.C. Sentencing and Policy Advisory Commission.
Barts is currently incarcerated at Southern Correctional Institution, a close-security prison for men in Troy.
No schedule for Barts’ release was announced.
See earlier coverage of the murders, as recounted earlier this year:
Convicted murderer sentenced first to death penalty, then life in prison, now up for parole 37 years later: https://alamancenews.com/convicted-murderer-sentenced-first-to-death-penalty-then-life-in-prison-now-up-for-parole-37-years-later/
Murder trial had familiar faces: https://alamancenews.com/1984-murder-trial-had-familiar-faces/