When Justin Barber asked his wife of three years to take a romantic stroll down a St. Augustine, Florida beach, she hesitantly said yes.
Maybe it was the lingering effects of the seemingly nonstop arguments over money, the bitter tastes of having been cheated on by the man she promised forever, or maybe it just pure intuition that made April Barber hesitate but if only she’d blown her husband off as he’d done her so many times before, things would probably be so much different now.
According to what Justin later told police, as he and his wife strolled hand and hand along the sandy shores, they were accosted by an unknown assailant and when the struggles were over, April lay dead and Justin was wounded – both from gunshots.
Justin, realizing the extent of his wife’s injuries, dragged her body to a dune walkover and then rushed to his vehicle to go try and get help. Passing home after home and open businesses, Justin finally chose a location more than mile away to summons police.
When investigators arrived at the scene, right away they noticed things smelled fishy. April’s wounds were fatal, while Justin’s were superficial. And when they uncovered Justin’s secret debts which mounded atop the couples already excessive debt, a large life insurance policy with a double indemnity clause, and Justin’s determination to not be divorced despite his numerous extramarital affairs, detectives were certain Justin Barber wasn’t a victim but a cold-blooded wife killer.
I first became interested in the case of State of Florida vs. Justin Barber after seeing both the Dateline and 48 Hours episodes on the case. Having watched those televised documentaries, I was anxious to read To Love, Honor, and Kill by Lee Butcher which, as it turns out, offered even more details about this highly controversial case.
Butcher expertly lays out all the details of the investigation, the circumstancial evidence against Barber and the results of foresnic testing, in a style allowing readers to make their own decision at Justin’s guilt. While the jury has already decided Justin Barber’s fate, true crime genre fans will enjoy debating whether Barber is a victim or heartless killer.
Although it gets a little slow at times with trial procedure, it’s still a fantastic read and I definitely recommend To Love, Honor, and Kill by Lee Butcher.
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