Police: Arkansas Man Butt-Dials Victim While Allegedly Planning His Murder
It was probably the worst time to make a butt-dial.
Larry Barnett, 68, was deep in the midst of negotiating a hit against his former employee, James Macom, 33, when he inadvertently called his intended victim, police said today.
As Macom listened, Police said Barnett discussed with another man how he should kill Macom, stressing the importance of making the hit seem like an accident.
"It's not that common, obviously, to hire a hit man," Doug Formon, a spokesman for the Jonesboro Police Department, told ABC News. "But it's very uncommon for someone to be having that conversation and to call the victim in the middle of it."
Amongst the things that Macom overheard Barnett telling the alleged hit man was Macom's home address and personal information, police said. In addition to instructions to "make it look like an accident," Barnett allegedly said he "did not care if you have to burn his house to the ground with him in it."
Macom and Barnett had been on bad terms for a while, Formon said. The two had an ongoing dispute over the ownership of a vehicle, and Macom had also filed claims against Barnett for lost wages, Formon said.
"I owe the little son of a b-- a bunch of money and if he's gone, I don't have to pay for it," Barnett allegedly said to the unknown man, whom he promised to pay $5,000 up front to begin with, according to Macom's report to the cops.
Barnett's butt-dial happened after he looked up Macom's contact info on his cell phone and then put it back in his pocket and sat on it, police said. After listening to parts of the conversation, Macom called the Jonesboro police, because that's where Barnett lives, and later filed a report. He came back home with the police to find that his home had been broken into and that the kitchen stove had been tampered with, allowing gas to leak into the home, police said.
Barnett was arrested Thursday for conspiracy to commit murder, police said. His temporary bond was initially set at $1 million but lowered to $50,000 on Monday in court. He has yet to make bail and is due back in court today, police said.
Barnett's attorney, Warren Dupwe, declined to comment about the case.
Barnett, who owns the Legend Motor Company car dealership in Jonesboro, is also being charged with forgery, after forging bills of sales of vehicles he did not have so that he could receive money from the bank, police said.