Victim’s family reacts to murder suspect out of jail

A victim’s family is reacting to a murder suspect out on bail. John Barnwell II stabbed and killed Penni Riley in September 2013, according to investigators.

Riley’s relatives said Barnwell slit Penni’s throat on her front doorstep while her grandchildren were inside her home in Princeton, Kentucky. Barnwell, who’s been in jail since the alleged murder, is now on house arrest after his judge, C. A. Woodall made changes to his bond earlier this week.

Penni’s oldest daughter Denita Riley said it’s hard to have a former family friend, who killed her mom, out of jail.

“No one knows the feeling that you go through when someone just comes in and is able to rip out a part of your life, and then say you’re going to let them come out,” Denita said.

The Riley’s found support surrounded by friends against a judge’s decision to adjust Barnwell’s bail. Penni’s brother Billy Riley started a petition and has more than a hundred signatures, asking Judge Woodall to reconsider those bond adjustments.

“Maybe we can go back and present that in front of the judge and maybe he might change his mind and revoke John’s bond,” Billy said.

Penni’s sister Donna Riley said they know this petition will not bring Penni back, but that they just want some sort of justice.      

Barnwell’s lawyer said Judge Woodall’s bond adjustments and restrictions are appropriate and keep the community’s safety in mind. Prosecutors objected to the modification in the bond.  

Judge Woodall said he made the changes mainly because Barnwell had been in jail for more than a year and a half, and has the right to a speedy trial which is now set to start in May.

Judge Woodall also said there was a drive-by shooting at Barnwell’s Mother’s home Thursday night. He’s reminding the community that there’s no reason for more deaths or injuries related to this case.

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