Death penalty reinstated in double slaying

Tuesday, February 19, 2002

Standard Democrat

WARRENTON, Mo. -- A jury reinstated the death penalty for a man charged in a gruesome double murder.

Cecil Barriner of Poplar Bluff, Mo., was found guilty again Friday of two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Irene Sisk and her teen-age granddaughter, Candace, both of Tallapoosa, Mo.

On Saturday, jurors who heard the case in Warren County on a change of venue, determined Barriner should be sentenced to death in the women's Dec. 16, 1996, murders. Jurors took just over an hour to reach their decision after hearing from six witnesses presented by the prosecution, including family members of the Sisks and Candace's fiancé at the time.

Barriner, who was represented by the state's public defender's office, had 10 witnesses called on his behalf as his lawyers sought to have the jury impose life imprisonment.

This is the second trial for Barriner, who was sentenced to death in 1999 following the first case.

However, the sentence was overturned by the Missouri Supreme Court on a 5-4 ruling, prompting the retrial.

Formal sentencing for Barriner is set for 9 a.m. March 29 in Warrenton, Mo.

"From the state's point of view, we were very fortunate that all of our witnesses were still available and that we were able to produce them in Warren County during the week," said H. Riley Bock, New Madrid County prosecuting attorney who tried the case, with the assistance of Rachel Smith from the Missouri Attorney General's office.

Bock said witnesses had to be brought from Mobile, Ala., and Vicksburg, Miss., as well as Southeast Missouri to testify in the weeklong trial.

"The state presented essentially the same case as before under the evidence restraints of the Supreme Court that sent the case back for a new trial," said Bock. "As always, we believed it was a strong case both for conviction and for the jury to consider the death penalty."

Formal sentencing for Barriner is set for 9 a.m. March 29 in Warrenton.

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