Poplar Bluff man gets new judge for third trial in 1996 murder

Saturday, September 27, 2003

Daily American Republic

POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. -- A new judge has been appointed to hear the third trial of a Poplar Bluff man accused of killing a teenager and her 73-year-old grandmother in 1996.

On Tuesday the Missouri Supreme Court appointed Senior Judge Frank Conley, a retired circuit judge out of Boone County, to Cecil Barriner's case, according to Scott Holste, spokesman for the Missouri Attorney General's office.

Holste said the first meeting before the judge will be on Oct. 15 in Boone County to discuss venue and a trial date.

Barriner, 41, has twice been convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to die in connection with the Dec. 16, 1996, deaths of the 19-year-old Candace Sisk and her 73-year-old grandmother, Irene. The women were stabbed to death in their Tallapoosa, Mo., home.

In June, the Missouri Supreme Court reversed a Warren County jury's first-degree murder convictions and accompanying death sentences, citing errors at February 2002 trial. The majority opinion said the trial judge erred by not allowing the jury to learn of hairs found on the victims' bodies.

A Dent County jury originally convicted Barriner in 1999, but the Supreme Court overturned those verdicts in 2000.

At that time, a five-judge majority held that prejudicial evidence and testimony was improperly used at his trial in Dent County.

Among the evidence the court said should have been excluded were items found in Barriner's home indicating his sexual proclivities. These included pornographic videotapes, a bondage magazine, rope and various sex toys.

The court ruled that testimony from a former girlfriend as to their sexual relationship and a supposed threat of physical harm by Barriner against her should have been excluded.

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