Keana Barnes murdered Air Force Sgt. Perry ‘P.J.’ Jennings on March 27, 2003 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Keana had been staying with her friend PJ temporarily while she got back on her feet. After PJ’s parents couldn’t get in touch with him for a couple days, they went to his apartment to see if they could find him. The building manager let them in the house and they found PJ with a single gunshot wound to the head, a pillow had been used as a silencer for the gun. It appeared that he had been killed in his sleep and did not suffer. He family reports that he actually looked peaceful.
Family had learned that Keana Barnes was also accused of murdering Jimmy Shepherd a year earlier. But Keana told PJ and others that she killed Jimmy in self defense because he tried to rape her. Actually, Keana brutally stabbed Jimmy 27 times in her rage attack. Keana Barnes was jailed for the offense but let out of the prison because the District Attorney didn’t file charges within 60 days. As soon as they realized their mistake, they put out a warrant for Keana who at this point couldn’t be found because she was bouncing from place to place including PJs.
After Keana Barnes murdered PJ Jennings, she fled the scene with his wallet, cash, and credit cards. She used the credit cards and it became obvious to police that she was heading for the Mexico border. Keana successfully entered Mexico but at this time the US Marshals were looking for her and were able to track her down based on her credit card usage. She was arrested and extradited back to New Orleans, Louisiana where she would face a first degree murder charge for PJ and a second degree murder charge for Jimmy Shepherd.
After Keana’s affluent family found out she was charged with two homicides, they backed her and paid for the best attorney money could buy. The attorney recommended a plea deal that was initially secret until the judge and the families of PJ Jennings and Jimmy Shepherd found out. Keana’s attorney wanted to reduce the charges to manslaughter and give her a sentence of 7 to 25 years in prison, eligible for parole in three years. The judge refused to accept the terms of the plea agreement and changed the sentence on the spot to 25 years in prison, no parole.
In a stunning twist, less than half way through her sentence, Keana Barnes successfully escaped from the St. Gabriel’s Prison in New Orleans, Louisiana. She headed out west to California and about three months after the successful escape, she was stopped by some L.A. police officers who asked for her identification. Keana didn’t have any identification so she was placed in the back of the police cruiser where she admitted to who she was. She was again extradited back to New Orleans, Louisiana to face additional time for the prison escape. Keana will be released in 2027 and she will be 44 years old when she is released.
Two deceased men both helped out a damsel in distress. Did playing the good samaritan cost them their lives, and should authorities be worried that she could put someone else at risk? -Snapped on Oxygen
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