Juror in Barnett trial: ‘What did we just do?’
Rage tweeting continues around Lafayette after ‘The Curious Case of Natalia Grace.' A juror reflects on the thin line between guilty and innocent … and how the jury was leaning against Michael Barnett
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JUROR IN BARNETT TRIAL: ‘WHAT DID WE JUST DO?’
Covering Michael Barnett’s trial in October 2022, knowing the full backstory about accusations about what he and ex-wife Kristine Barnett had done when they left their daughter, Natalia, in a rented apartment in Lafayette in 2013, one theme was whispered repeatedly across the fourth-floor Tippecanoe County Courthouse rotunda.
What are the 12 jurors going to think when they get home at the end of the trial and find all the evidence – including court orders that legally made Natalia Grace Barnett, a Ukrainian adoptee with a form of dwarfism, an adult rather than a pre-teen – that was barred from being uttered in the courtroom?
Jayne Parker, foreman on the jury that acquitted Michael Barnett, can answer that now, months later.
“It was like, What did we just do?” Parker said. “And why didn’t we know what was really happening?”
While the rest of Lafayette was rage tweeting in recent weeks – about the circumstances of Natalia Barnett’s situation, Michael Barnett’s not guilty verdict, descriptions (and accompanying images) from the trial that depicted Lafayette as a “white trash town,” the obviously bonkers family dynamic going on in the Barnetts’ marriage and eventual divorce, and the prosecutor’s call to let everything go before putting Kristine Barnett on trial – after six-part release of “The Curious Case of Natalia Grace” on Investigative Discovery, Parker was watching the docuseries, left to relive four days of jury duty in October 2022.