Justin Leigh Barnett

Barnett, circa 1995; Tricia Abney

  • Missing Since 06/03/1995
  • Missing From Birmingham, Alabama
  • Classification Endangered Missing
  • Sex Male
  • Race White
  • Age 23 years old
  • Height and Weight 5'8, 155 pounds
  • Distinguishing Characteristics Caucasian male. Brown hair, brown eyes.

Details of Disappearance

Barnett was last seen in Birmingham, Alabama on June 3, 1995. He borrowed his girlfriend's car and went out drinking with his girlfriend and some friends. He told them he was going to meet someone and would come back later.

Barnett was supposed to meet a female friend at a party, but never arrived, and he never returned to the apartment he shared with his girlfriend. His friends tried to call him all night on his cellular phone, but he never picked up. He has never been heard from again. Several days later, Barnett's friends found his girlfriend's car abandoned in the Lakeview area. They had previously searched that location and the car hadn't been there before.

In July 2015, Tricia Faye Abney was charged with capital murder in Barnett's case. A photo of Abney is posted with this case summary. She was an exotic dancer in 1995 and worked at an establishment called Sammy's. Authorities believe she lured Barnett to an apartment in the 7700 block of Sunrise Lane, off Oporto-Madrid Boulevard, so she and her then-boyfriend, Jeff Martin, could rob him. The robbery supposedly went bad and the pair stabbed Barnett to death and dismembered his body in the bathtub and buried the remains in Bibb County.

Abney and Martin separated after the murder and he eventually married. Abney was arrested multiple times after Barnett's disappearance and convicted of three felony drug charges.

The police learned of the crime when Abney's brother came to them in January 2015. He had lived with Abney and Martin at the time of Barnett's disappearance, and he told police he had stumbled across the crime scene after the murder took place and helped his sister and her boyfriend dispose of Barnett's body. He said he came forward because he couldn't bear to keep the secret anymore.

Martin took his own life in Mobile, Alabama on the same day Abney was arrested. In Abney's statement to police, she admitted Barnett was killed in her apartment and admitted to playing a role in his murder, although she placed most of the blame on Martin. She was convicted of felony murder at her trial in September 2017 and sentenced to life in prison without parole.

According to Abney's brother, he, his sister and Martin took Barnett's dismembered remains to a wooded area in the area of on Southside-Clairmont and 29th Street south, and Abney's brother stayed at the car while Abney and Martin took the remains into the woods. Authorities have searched the area but haven't found any remains.

Foul play is suspected in Barnett's case due to the circumstances involved.

Investigating Agency

  • Birmingham Police Department
  • 205-297-8497
  • 205-297-8490

Updated 4 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated December 12, 2018; five pictures added.