Barnett Pleads Guilty

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A Grand Island man charged with murdering his estranged wife changed his plea in Hall County court.

Mark Barnett was facing first-degree murder charge and attempted first-degree murder for a shooting on July 22. Barnett shot his wife Amie Barnett several times, killing her. He also shot his sister-in-law Jessica Ellston. Ellston's three-year-old daughter was in the apartment during the shooting.

In September, Mark Barnett pleaded not guilty to the charges. On Wednesday, Barnett accepted a plea agreement reducing his charges to second-degree murder and third-degree felony assault along with weapons and child abuse charges. He pleaded guilty to all four counts.

Deputy Hall County Attorney Mark Young says they never would have entered into a plea bargain unless they had talked to the family of Amie Barnett first. Young stated in cases where there are survivors and some of the victims are deceased, they always look for alternatives to making them relive the ordeal through trial.

Young will ask for life imprisonment for Barnett during his sentencing in February. He says the penalties involved with the current charges should be enough to keep the community safe and satisfy the injustice to Amie Barnett's family.

Amie's family says they are happy the guilty plea was given.