Man sentenced to life in prison for murder of pregnant mom in Detroit smirks at family

Posted at 5:41 PM, Jun 15, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-15 17:41:46-04

At 23 years old, Jacob Barnes will spend the rest of his life in prison, without parole, convicted in the killing of 29-year-old Amanda Lynn Benton and her unborn child.

Barnes was convicted by a jury on June 1 after a trial that lasted seven days.

He was sentenced to life in prison without parole for first degree murder, 20 to 40 years in prison for mutilation of a dead body, and 20 to 40 years for injury to a pregnant woman causing death.

In court prosecutors say Barnes was on probation at the time of the killing for another brutal beating of different woman, leaving that victim with swollen eyes and knocking out her teeth.

Prosecutors say his violent behavior escalated to the death of Amanda Benton.

"I hope the brutal murder of my daughter and granddaughter haunts this punk every time he closes his eyes," said the victim’s mother Flo Harper.
Investigators say Barnes and Jeremy Lee, who was just 16 at the time, carjacked Amanda in September 2016 in southwest Detroit.

Police say they beat the mother of four, put her in the trunk of her own car, drove her to an abandoned home where they beat her more, strangled her, snapped her neck and killed her.

Her family says she was five and a half months pregnant with her first daughter.
"The little girl to complete her family, the little girl she always wanted," said Harper.
Benton’s father, Rory Benton, says they named the unborn child Angel, "This monster took his foot and stomped her stomach over, and over, and over again to kill that little baby inside her."
After killing Benton and the baby, police say the two set her body on fire.

Family members say Benton was dealing with a drug addiction at the time, but was actively seeking help, "Amanda tried so hard to find a rehab to go to," explained Harper.

They say she finally found a program that would accept her insurance, and was supposed to check-in the day she was murdered.

Throughout the hearing Barnes appeared bored and emotionless, continuing to deny his guilt as he addressed the court, referring to the crime as disappointing.

Wayne Co. Circuit Court Judge Honorable Thomas Cameron addressed his lack of remorse saying, "someone who appeared at least to me to be morally and emotionally empty inside."

7 Action News cameras caught Barnes turning to smirk at the victim's family as he was walked away to serve life in prison.

Benton leaves behind four sons, they are 12, 10, six and five years old.

The other man charged with her death, Jeremy Lee, who was 16 at the time of the crime, previously plead guilty to the murder.

He was charged as an adult and is currently serving 25-60 years in prison.