UPDATE, SEPT. 29, 3:17 P.M.: Demarrea Chante Barnes could go away to state prison for 13 years if he is convicted of the charges filed against him today, the Orange County District Attorney's office (OCDA) announced.
The 29-year-old transient faces felony counts of assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury and elder and dependent adult abuse as well as a sentencing enhancement for great bodily injury, and three state prison priors for drug possession in 2005 and 2008, and assault on a peace officer with injury in 2012. The OCDA said it would ask Barnes be held on $100,000 bail at his arraignment today in Santa Ana. The 82-year-old man Barnes is accused of attacking, Tuyen Nguyen, is recovering from broken facial bones and a brain hemorrhage, prosecutors say. There was no apparent motive for the attack because Barnes did not take anything from Nguyen, according to Cpl. Anthony Bertagna, the Santa Ana Police Department spokesman. Nguyen has been going to Emerald Bay Restaurant “for 15 years to get his morning coffee,” and his family reported that he recognized Barnes as a transient who frequented the area, said Bertagna, who added the victim has offered to help the transient in the past but they otherwise they do not know each other. Wilda Wright, Barnes' aunt, gave an emotional apology to Nguyen's family today, saying she prays he heals fully and assuring them what is blamed on her nephew is totally out of character. The Barnes family says Demarrea has suffered from mental issues since childhood and only acts out when off his medication. “This is not him,” Wright repeated while apologizing.
ORIGINAL POST, SEPT. 28, 11:25 A.M.: A 29-year-old transient has been arrested for the brutal and unprovoked beating of an 83-year-old man in Santa Ana Friday morning that was captured on surveillance video.
The victim was walking in the parking lot of the Emerald Bay Restaurant, 5015 W. Edinger Ave., around 6:10 a.m.–as part of his morning ritual of grabbing a cup of coffee and newspaper–when this happened (after the ad):
The beating put the unidentified elderly into a local hospital in critical but stable condition, according to Santa Ana Police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna, the department spokesman.
News coverage over the weekend produced a tip and that led to the arrest of Demarrea Chante Barnes in Anaheim. He was booked on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon other than a firearm and assault with a deadly weapon with great bodily injury.
OC Weekly Editor-in-Chief Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the alternative newsweekly’s first calendar editor.