News From Terre Haute, Indiana

July 23, 2013

Testimony continues in gun trial

Man charged with unlawful possession of firearm by felon

Lisa Trigg
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — Testimony continues today in the trial of a Terre Haute man who interrupted a 2010 home invasion in which a suspect put a gun to a woman’s head.

Lance L. Barbee faces a criminal charge of unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon, a class-B felony, in Vigo Superior Court 1.

A 12-person jury was selected Monday afternoon, and Chief Deputy Prosecutor Rob Roberts stated in his opening remarks that Barbee knew he was not supposed to possess a firearm at the time of the break-in. Roberts played a tape of a 911 call in which Barbee could be heard reporting the intruder. He could also be heard asking his former girlfriend for her gun before he disconnects the 911 call.

But defense attorney Steven Blakely countered that Barbee was upset because the intruder had jumped the ex-girlfriend when she entered her Seventh Avenue duplex and held the gun to her head. The intruder also turned his own gun on Barbee before fleeing the scene, Blakely said, and with that action, Barbee is allowed to protect himself and others.

“They were under threat of bodily harm,” Blakely said of Barbee’s actions in handling his ex-girlfriend’s gun.

Testimony from Terre Haute Police Officer Adam Loudermilk indicated that Barbee was not at the scene of the break-in when police arrived, however, because he had allegedly gone looking for the suspect, who left footsteps in the snow. Barbee returned to the duplex in his vehicle several minutes later, Loudermilk said, and police recovered a silver handgun from inside the vehicle.

At that time, Barbee was not under arrest, the officer noted, and he cooperated with the investigation by going to police headquarters to give statements about the incident.

However, Barbee was later arrested and charged with possession of a firearm by a violent felon for that Jan. 7, 2010, incident. He was convicted in January 1998 for dangerous possession of a handgun and attempted robbery.

Testimony continues today, and Judge John Roach indicated that the case could be given to the jury for deliberation this afternoon.

Lisa Trigg can be reached at 812-231-4254 or lisa.trigg@tribstar.com.