Justin Barber Murder – Did He Shoot Himself To Hide A Murder?

By | March 29, 2023

Justin Barber killed his wife and then shot himself four times to make it appear like they had been robbed while strolling along a remote Florida shoreline.

Justin Barber is in prison for the rest of his life for the murder of his wife.

During his trial, it was revealed that the high-flying executive was a serial fornicator who stood to benefit financially from an insurance policy should his wife pass away. 

Insights of Justin Barber murder case

On August 17, 2002, Barber allegedly killed his wife, April, while strolling on the shore in Guana River State Park in northern Florida.

He was discovered slumped, confused, and bleeding behind the wheel of his SUV on a coastal highway close to the beach by a passing motorist.

The motorist then called  911, and the investigators discovered April on the beach. 

They could not revive her, according to Barber, who claimed that an unidentified assailant had attacked him and his wife. He was treated for four gunshot wounds in the hospital for a day before being released.

Barber led the investigators back to the crime site, where he described his struggle with the attacker.

He claimed that after passing out and trying to drag April up the shoreline after waking up, he realized he had been shot himself.

They were suspicious due to the hazy information he provided regarding the attacker and the absence of any hints in the underbrush by the shore.

They looked into the couple’s lives and discovered that Barber had relocated for business, which led her to believe he was having an extramarital affair.

The investigation of the murder

Detectives assembled an image of April and Justin Barber and their three-year marriage as they investigated the case.

The pair, who obtained their undergraduate and graduate degrees from Oklahoma State University, shared a home in southern Georgia until the murder.

To accept a position with the timber products firm Rayonier as a business analyst and management trainee, Justin Barber relocated to Jacksonville.

Justin’s wife stayed behind to continue working as a dosimetrist, a technician who assists in determining and administering the correct quantity of radiation for patients at a cancer treatment facility.

Family members later recalled that April, a bright young woman who had been salutatorian of her class, felt compelled to work with those afflicted by the disease. Her mother had passed away from lung cancer while April was still in high school.

Every weekend, April Barber traveled from Georgia to her husband’s apartment in Jacksonville, and on the surface, it seemed like the couple was having success with their long-distance union.

But Justin Barber’s story was cast into doubt by the crime scene. Detectives frequently questioned Barber about the incident. 

They took him back to the beach at one point, where they requested him to act out the crime as they recorded. April Barber had been struck fatally once by a.22-caliber gun, a small firearm. 

Barber, in comparison, received four gunshot wounds, but none were severe enough to necessitate surgery, and some officers thought they were only superficial. 

The dried blood on April Barber’s forehead was another issue. However, her husband claimed to have dragged and carried her 100 feet.  

At one point, even throwing her over his shoulder, officials believed that she had not been moved after being shot because only one side of her face was stained with blood. 

Detectives reasoned that if she hadn’t been moved, she must have been shot close to the crosswalk where she was discovered rather than by a thief 100 feet away on the shore.

April Barber was “incapacitated” by being “nearly drowned,” according to the medical investigator, who then went to the shooting scene.

The investigators started searching for a motive after their suspicions were aroused. They quickly discovered $2.3 million worth of life insurance policies, including one that April Barber had purchased the year before the murder for $2.1 million.

Investigators looked into Justin Barber’s accounts and found that he had significant financial issues. 

When Barber came for the funeral, he reportedly said he couldn’t afford to pay for the burial, headstone, or flowers, according to a county judge in Oklahoma who is also his wife’s aunt. 

According to court documents, he assured the judge that he would pay her back as soon as the insurance claim was settled.

Later, Barber attempted to collect the funds but was unsuccessful because his wife’s aunt and siblings had effectively filed a lawsuit to stop the payout because he was still a suspect in the crime.

Additionally, the investigators discovered proof that Justin Barber was a serial philanderer who had relationships with three women in Georgia, one in Florida, and another in New Zealand. 

The arrest of Justin Barber

In St. John’s County, Florida, the case was heard in court in 2006, and the prosecution’s main contention was that Barber killed April to collect an insurance payment.

According to their claims, Barber attempted to drown his wife after 11 months of planning before dragging her to the boardwalk by the beach and shooting her in the face.

Additionally, they showed proof of extramarital relationships during the three years he married April.

After being shot four times, they claimed that Barber was fortunate to be still alive and that the bullet holes in his shirt were compatible with them being fired by someone else.

The jury was divided at the beginning of the hearing, but after four days of deliberations, they found him guilty.

The jury deliberated for 51 minutes during the sentencing portion of the case and decided in favor of the death penalty.

He ultimately received a life sentence without the chance of parole.

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