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Friday, September 20, 2013

LEXINGTON COUNTY, SC - Lexington County Sheriff’s Department detectives on Friday, September 20 served a 41-year-old West Columbia man with an arrest warrant on a charge of murder in connection with the fatal stabbing of a 54-year-old Lexington man earlier this year.

Lexington County Sheriff James R. Metts said detectives served Richard Earl Barnes, 41, of 4127 Greenwood Drive, West Columbia, at the Lexington County Detention Center with the arrest warrant on a charge of murder. Barnes was being held at the Detention Center on bail totaling $505,000 on prior charges of being an accessory after the fact to murder, manufacturing methamphetamine and possessing 28 grams or less of marijuana.

Barnes will remain at the Detention Center while awaiting a bond hearing on the charge of murder, Metts said. Under South Carolina law, a circuit judge would have to conduct a bond hearing for Barnes in general sessions court because murder carries a punishment of life in prison. The 11th Judicial Circuit Solicitor’s Office has not yet scheduled a bond hearing for Barnes.

Arrest warrants allege that between March 9 and April 18 Barnes and Worth Edward Cook, III, 27, of 815 Lee Gunter Road, Leesville, acted with malice in killing David Johnathan Diblasi, 54, of Lexington, by stabbing Diblasi multiple times at Cook’s home, Metts said.

In April, detectives arrested Barnes and Cook in connection with the killing of Diblasi, who was reported missing to the Sheriff’s Department on March 9, Metts said. At that time, detectives recovered the body of Diblasi, who had been stabbed in his left eye and suffered a fractured skull. Detectives recovered Diblasi’s body after excavating a burial site in the backyard of Cook’s home.

On Friday, detectives obtained the arrest warrant for Barnes on a charge of murder after witnesses identified Barnes as a participant in the fatal stabbing of Diblasi, Metts said.

Cook was being held without bond on Friday at the county Detention Center on charges of murder, financial transaction card fraud, obtaining property under false pretenses and violating the conditions of his court-ordered supervision, Metts said.

Diblasi’s mother reported her 54-year-old son missing to the Sheriff’s Department on March 9, Metts said. Diblasi’s mother told deputies that she last saw her son at her home on February 25. Diblasi lived with his mother at her home near Lexington.

Arrest warrants allege that Diblasi was last seen on February 25 in the company of Barnes and Cook, who knew Diblasi, Metts said. On March 5, Barnes and Cook traveled in a white 1997 Chrysler Town & Country van that is owned by Barnes’ girlfriend to a Wal-Mart supercenter on South Lake Drive near Lexington, where Cook used Diblasi’s TD Bank credit card to buy baby supplies, including diapers. Diblasi was not with Cook when Cook used Diblasi’s credit card to make the purchase. Cook’s girlfriend was pregnant.

In April, detectives executed a search warrant at Cook’s home and found Diblasi’s body in a clandestine grave that had been dug on Cook’s property, Metts said. The body later was positively identified as Diblasi’s body, based on numerous tattoos found on the body.

After he and Barnes killed Diblasi, arrest warrants allege that Cook cut up Diblasi’s white 1996 Isuzu Hombre pickup truck, which Diblasi had driven to Cook’s home, Metts said.

Arrest warrants further allege that Barnes took the remaining parts of Diblasi’s Isuzu Hombre pickup truck to Temple’s Verbe Auto Parts, 7303 Two Notch Road, Batesburg, where Barnes sold the remaining parts of the truck to be recycled, Metts said. Barnes also unsuccessfully tried to use Diblasi’s credit card to buy a saw at a home improvement center.

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