In front of a packed room on Thursday, a jury unanimously found Derrick Barnett guilty on all nine counts against him, including two counts of premeditated murder for killing Michael and Nora Dimuria at their home in Williams.
Dressed in a tan suit for the verdict, Barnett dropped his head while the verdicts were read and appeared to sob.
Barnett was found guilty of two counts of premeditated first degree murder and two counts of misconduct involving weapons. He was also found guilty of first degree burglary, theft, prohibited possession, cruelty to animals and theft of a means of transportation.
According to prosecutors, Barnett killed the Dimurias while in need of money after being kicked out of his father’s trailer. The defense attempted to deflate the prosecution by asserting they lacked the evidence to convict Barnett.
A sentencing hearing for the case has not yet been set.
Coconino County attorney Bill Ring was present at the verdict and was pleased with the ruling.
“Thank you to the jury for their service,” Ring said. “Justice was done today.”
After closing arguments ended on the afternoon Tuesday, the jury began deliberation. The 12 jurors spent a little over two days deliberating before coming to a unanimous guilty verdict.
Public defender Roberta McVickers represented Barnett in the trial, which lasted over four weeks.
“We’re obviously disappointed,” McVickers said. “But we appreciate the time and hard work the jury put in considering all the evidence.”
The state’s case was based around placing Barnett near the Dimurias' home in Williams in the days before the May 1, 2017 murder. They then compiled a breadcrumb-style trail of his escape in the stolen car to Colorado.
There was no scientific evidence that placed him at the scene on the day of the murder.
According to the jury’s findings, Barnett used two weapons at the scene of the crime to kill the couple and their dog. He then stole a car and cash from the Dimurias' home and fled toward Colorado.
He ditched the white Jeep Liberty near a river, leaving DNA inside. He then used the money from the crime to purchase a new car, in an attempt to throw the police off his trail. Colorado State Police and Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office were still able to track down Barnett and find him while driving down the highway.
Dashcam footage of the late-night highway pursuit was entered as evidence and shows Barnett driving in a red truck with a blown-out tire. Police in pursuit used their vehicles to knock Barnett off the highway, causing him to roll off the side of the road.
In the court hearing, the jurors heard from Barnett’s family, police and Coconino County forensic investigators. In addition to the bullet and video evidence, Barnett was heard on a recording obtained while he was talking to his mother on the Coconino County Detention Facility phones.
Prosecutor Ammon Barker used the audio recording to portray Barnett’s understanding of the crime and even his acceptance of his guilt.
“I’m ready to accept my responsibility,” Barnett said. “I’m ready to die.”
In letting the entire recording play, the prosecution also allowed insight into the mind of the now-convicted murderer. After saying he was ready to accept his fate, Barnett added a darker comment.
“I’m telling you right now, I’m not going by no lethal injection,” Barnett said with a laugh.
McVickers portrayed this exchange as the result of Barnett being overwhelmed by the gravity of the situation.
Barnett will be detained while waiting for sentencing.