Crime

Charlotte man found not guilty in 2012 Lancaster slaying

A Charlotte man on Thursday was found not guilty in the 2012 murder of a Lancaster woman who was found shot and stabbed to death in her home.

Jurors deliberated for about two hours before finding Roger Baskins, 43, not guilty on charges of murder and possession of a weapon during a violent crime, according to Sixth Circuit Public Defender Mike Lifsey. Baskins was found guilty on one count of possession of a firearm by a person who was previously convicted of a crime of violence.

A judge sentenced Baskins to five years in prison for the one weapons charge, but Lifsey expects Baskins to be released soon on time served.

Baskins was accused in the death of 47-year-old Cynthia Barnes, who was found dead in her East Dunlap Street home on Feb. 9, 2012.

Barnes was dating Baskins’ uncle at the time of her death, said Lisa Collins, who prosecuted the case for the Sixth Circuit Solicitor’s Office. The state alleged that Barnes and Baskins had been together and used drugs the night before she was found dead, and that they got into an argument when Baskins tried to have sex with her.

Barnes had been shot three times and stabbed 25 times with a Phillips-head screwdriver, Collins said.

“My client denied he was involved at all,” Lifsey said, adding that he argued there was no physical evidence linking Baskins to the scene, and that Barnes’ injuries were more consistent with a “crime of passion.”

“We’re very pleased,” Lifsey said. “Mr. Baskins has always maintained his innocence and has waited a long time for his day in court.”

Collins said she was disappointed with the jury’s decision, which came after several witnesses – some of whom were family members of Baskins and even Baskins himself – changed or recanted statements they made in the days after the crime.

“They changed all or a portion of their statements when they testified. That’s hard,” she said. “I understand it has to be difficult for citizen witnesses to come forward and give information, and then be called in as witnesses to testify. I’m very thankful for the courage that citizen witnesses have to not only come in and testify, but to come in and testify and not change your story and be consistent with what they said during the investigation rather than change their statements once they get here under oath.”

Teddy Kulmala: 803-329-4082, @teddy_kulmala

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