Barnes indicted in two Kent stabbing

By Diane Smith Record-Courier staff writer Published:

"He said, 'That's one thing I learned from my mom was to never give up,' "said Becky Simmons, recalling a letter her son had written to the Multiple Sclerosis Society. "That's why he's going to come home and get better, because he's never going to give up."

Simmons attended a special Portage County grand jury hearing Tuesday. After hearing testimony, Marcus Barnes, 23, of 822 Silver Meadows Blvd., was indicted in connection with stabbing Wawrin, 21, and Christopher DeAngelis, 20, both of Rootstown.

Barnes, who remains held in the Portage County Jail in lieu of a $200,000 cash bond, is charged with two counts of felonious assault, both second-degree felonies. He will be arraigned in Portage County Common Pleas Court.

Kent police are still investigating the stabbing, which occurred after a fight in front of 976 W. Main St. The three men had attended a party there.

Witnesses told police an argument between Barnes, DeAngelis and Wawrin escalated into a fight and a stabbing. Both Wawrin and DeAngelis were taken to Robinson Memorial Hospital in Ravenna, where DeAngelis was treated and released.

But Wawrin, a pre-business major at Kent State University, continues to fight for his life. He remained in the hospital's intensive care unit this morning, listed in serious condition.

Simmons said although she's not sure of the details of the stabbing, she will not accept Barnes' claim that he acted in self-defense, a statement he made at his arraignment Monday.

"It was not self-defense," she said. "He did not stab those two young, beautiful kids in self-defense."

Both men were transported to the hospital by the Kent Fire Department.

"One of the kids had him in his car and was going to take him to the hospital, but someone was smart enough to call 911," she said. "It's a good thing they did, because he lost a lot of blood. They thought he was going to die that night."

Kent Police Chief James Peach said police were given consent by the apartment manager to search Barnes' apartment for evidence. His car was taken in as evidence, but Peach would not say if knives or any other items were taken from the apartment.

Peach said police have conducted a preliminary interview with DeAngelis but also are planning a follow-up interview, a routine practice in such an investigation. He would not say what DeAngelis has told police.

"We've got a good investigation taking place," he said. "A very comprehensive investigation is being conducted."

Police interviews with Wawrin have not yet taken place, but officers are planning to interview him as soon as possible, Peach said.

"It's just a tragic situation," he said.

For now, Wawrin's condition is unchanged since Saturday, when he underwent emergency surgery. His kidneys shut down, and he was put on dialysis Tuesday. He is heavily sedated, his mother said, because doctors want him to rest and let his body heal from the trauma of the stabbing.

Simmons said her son has received 50 units of blood because the stab wound, under his left arm, severed an artery.

He has been unable to talk to family members because he is breathing through a ventilator, Simmons said.

"For what he's gone through, the doctors are satisfied with how he's doing," she said, adding the doctors and nurses at the hospital have been very supportive throughout the ordeal.

DeAngelis could not be reached to comment for this story. The person answering the phone at his house said he would have no comment.

Simmons said her son and DeAngelis, who she called "C.D.," had been best friends since they met in junior high school.

"Chris and Chris helped each other," she said. "They were best pals."

She said both were invited to Saturday's party but Barnes was not.

"He was not supposed to be there," she said of Barnes. "There was one person there who knew who he was. He was not supposed to be there."

The house where the party was held is adjacent to World Imports garage, and both buildings are owned by the same man.

Residents at the West Main Street house where the party occurred, declined to give their names and said they were not allowed to talk about the case to anyone.

Meanwhile, Simmons remains convinced her son will recover from his injuries. The letter he wrote to the Multiple Sclerosis Society about her illness is evidence of that, she said.

In the letter, Wawrin wrote about how he was only 10 when his mother was diagnosed and didn't understand his mother's illness, but through the years he was inspired by her courage.

Simmons still has a copy of the letter.

"I cry every time I read it," she said.

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