Clipped From The Galveston Daily News
at | in to Man Acquitted Of Murder Try Stephen Lee Barker, 22, who was accused of attempting attempting to murder his wife, has been acquitted by a jury in 10th District Court. Barker was accused of attempting to bum to death his wife, Rhonda Kay, and their son, Eric, in the couple's trailer home in Santa Fe on Feb. 23. A jury deliberated 13 hours in the case and acquitted Barker of the charge Saturday afternoon. Barker was defended by Tom Douvry. He was prosecuted by Assistant Criminal District Attorney MikeHeiskell. There was testimony from a psychiatrist called by the defense that the defendant could not have wanted to kill his wife at the time of the offense and that he had suffered from temporary amnesia caused by a hysterical neurosis. The state produced testimony from the defendant's former wife that on the evening of the fire at the couple's trailer house at 11228 28th Street in Santa Fe, she was beaten and choked by Barker and that gasoline was poured in and around the trailer. She testified that she received burns on her feet, a broken nose and a broken hand, but escaped from the flames. Barker denied he was guilty of attempting to kill his wife and testified he had rescued his son from the flames. He contended he did not remember all that happened, but that he was innocent of the charge of attempted murder. After the verdict, Criminal District Attorney James Hury said he was "extremely disappointed" in the handling of evidence by the Galveston County Sheriff's Department. He said he specifically was disappointed in the loss of a glass jar which was alleged to have contained gasoline and in the "failure to take photographs and to secure the crime scene." "We have been assured this won't happen again," he said.