Crime

Here’s why sheriff says a woman hindered prosecution of Amber Barnett’s killing

Amber Barnett, 21, was last seen being left in woods on Cemetery Road near Gulfport in Harrison County on Feb. 18, 2018. Sheriff’s investigators believe that’s the day she was killed. Her remains were found in that area on Aug. 31, 2018.
Amber Barnett, 21, was last seen being left in woods on Cemetery Road near Gulfport in Harrison County on Feb. 18, 2018. Sheriff’s investigators believe that’s the day she was killed. Her remains were found in that area on Aug. 31, 2018. Biloxi Police Department

Amber Barnett’s remains had lain in woods about six months when sheriff’s investigators interviewed a woman they say could have helped solve her disappearance early on.

The alleged murder suspect, Wayne Adams, had asked his friend Candice Lee Robison to dispose of the remains, an affidavit says.

Robison, 34, of Gulfport, denied knowing about Barnett’s disappearance and killing when investigators questioned her in a video-recorded interview on Aug. 21, the court paper says.

The 21-year-old Barnett was last seen alive Feb. 18, when she allegedly met Adams for a date at a vacant mobile home on County Farm Road. Her remains were found Aug. 31 off Cemetery Road.

Robison hindered prosecution and now faces a felony charge, Sheriff Troy Peterson said.

Robison was one of two women that investigators interviewed before the remains were found. The other woman’s statement indicates Robison tried to dispose of evidence and conceal the killing, an affidavit says.

The other woman said she had lived with Adams in February. According to her statement, she and Adams had gone to his “Sugar Mama’s” house — Robison’s home — on Mansion Oaks Place in February. The woman said she saw Adams pull a black designer bag and black garbage bags out of his trunk and he told Robison to “burn these bloody clothes.”

The woman told investigators she saw a large scratch on Adams’ arm, and he told her he’d fallen off a truck, but she didn’t believe him.

Robison told investigators Adams had told her he’d killed two people who he thought were about to rob him in a drug deal at a trailer park. According to the affidavit, Robison said Adams told her he’d killed the man first, and the woman bit him on his arm so he had to kill her, too.

While public concern over Barnett’s disappearance increased, Adams followed Barnett’s missing-person page on Facebook and had shown her picture to Robison, she reportedly told detectives.

Adams and Robison apparently were close enough that he often drove her car. He was driving her gray 2008 Honda Pilot on April 23 when he was pulled over in a traffic stop.

He was arrested on a sexual battery charge after a woman filed a complaint in D’Iberville. The woman says the man who sexually assaulted her was driving a gray or silver vehicle, an affidavit says.

Adams, the father of two children, used dating apps and the internet to meet women, including that D’Iberville woman, according to legal documents.

On Aug. 25, four days after interviews with Robison and the other woman, investigators were looking for Barnett on Gulf Haven Road in Harrison County. They found a green recycling bin with a yellow lid and a black cloth-like strap holding the lid securely in place. They found it on off Mansion Oaks Place on a dirt road west of Robison’s house and took it into evidence.

Deputies arrested Robison on Oct. 12. She’s free on a $25,000 bond. The case against her will go to the next grand jury.

Adams, 28, faces a first-degree murder charge. He is being held at the Harrison County jail on bonds that total $1.85 million. He was already in jail on the pending sexual battery charge on Aug. 31 when Barnett’s remains were found.

Adams, of Gulfport, has a commercial driver’s license and had delivered mobile homes across the state for about two years for the Gulfport-based Master Moverz business, owner Ronald Carter said. Carter said the allegations against Adams disturb him.

“I’ve thought about it and thought about it,” Carter said.

“He had taken my girlfriend home for work 20 or 30 times. I have a daughter myself. It really bothered me. I’m glad they caught him.”

Four charges against Adams have been turned over to a grand jury. They include possession of a stolen firearm and possession of meth. Those two stem from the traffic stop when he was arrested on the warrant for sexual battery.

RobinFitzgerald, 228-896-2307, @robincrimenews

Sexual violence is a social and public health problem in the U.S. The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey says nearly 1 in 2 women and 1 in 5 men experienced sexual violence victimization other than rape at some point in their lives.

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