A 22 year old soldier from Allentown, Pennsylvania, Caleb Barnes was convicted of first-degree murder last Friday for killing his then-14-year-old girlfriend’s mother who didn’t approve of their relationship because of her daughter’s age.
Barnes was accused of stabbing 54 year old Cheryl Silvonek, last year while his girlfriend, Jamie Silvonek, watched on.
Cheryl Silvonek was discovered with multiple wounds to her torso, head, and neck March 15, 2015. The couple allegedly buried her in a shallow grave after she was killed with plans to set the body on fire later.
According to People, the murder took place after Cheryl Silvonek showed Barnes her daughter’s birth certificate as proof of her age and that he had committed a felony by sleeping with a minor.
Jamie Silvonek pleaded guilty to first-degree murder earlier this year, and, as part of a plea deal, agreed to testify against Barnes, thus receiving a shorter sentence of 35 years to life.
After they were caught, Barnes initially suggested that he’d acted alone and pleaded not guilty before the case went to trial.
However, when the two testified in court, both pointed the blame at each other, with Barnes claiming his girlfriend had murdered her mother after telling her she was pregnant with his child.
When he took the stand, he claimed he had fallen asleep in his car outside of her house, when Jamie Silvonek came banging on his window covered in blood.
According to CBS, Barnes said:
“At this point, I’m thinking I have a family to protect”. “This girl just killed her mom, but she’s having my baby. I can’t let her go to prison.”
Jamie Silvonek on the other hand, claimed Barnes had strangled, then stabbed, her mother from behind after she’d picked them up from a concert.
Before the murder, Jamie had allegedly told Barnes that she wanted her mother dead through a series of text messages.
In regards to the text messages, Jamie said:
“I believe what I did was just as bad or worse than the physical act … I realized that I had to do the right thing, that’s taking accountability for my actions, something your client has yet to do.”
The jury deliberated on their verdict for over four hours, ultimately siding with Jamie Silvonek since Barnes’s narrative seemed not to hold up.
Silvonek is serving her 35 years to life sentence at a state correctional facility, while Barnes will be sentenced to life in prison at his hearing Sept.19.