A judge closed the book on a nearly two-year-old case by sentencing two accomplices in the 2009 West Campus murders to prison after they pleaded guilty.
Samuel Gifford, 20, received a 50-year sentence and Roy Renick, 22, received a 35-year sentence. Both men helped plan and implement the murders of former West Campus residents Stacy Barnett, 22, and Jonathon Goosey, 21.
According to court documents, Goosey sold marijuana to James “Ricky” Thompson, who accumulated nearly $8,000 in debt. Cell phone records show Goosey tried to contact Thompson several times but did not reach him until July 20.
On July 21, 2009, Thompson, who “was looking to clear his debt,” entered Barnett and Goosey’s apartment, where he fatally shot them multiple times in their heads, according to arrest affidavits. Court records also indicate Thompson wanted to kill Barnett because she knew who he was. Gifford, Thompson’s roommate, drove him to the apartment and helped him dispose of the evidence at Mount Bonnell. Renick built a homemade silencer and told Thompson “to spray the bodies with ammonia so that there would be no evidence left behind at the scene,” according to an affidavit.
Both men helped to steal insulation from an abandoned home to build a silencer for the pistol, test the silencer and simulate Goosey’s apartment for practice runs, according to affidavits.
Thompson was sentenced to life in prison in August 2010, and police arrested Gifford and Renick shortly afterward.
Gifford received two concurrent 50-year sentences and will be eligible for parole after 25 years. Renick, who cooperated with police following his arrest, received a shorter sentence.
Cathy Barnett, Stacy’s sister, spoke out against the two men in court Friday.
The Austin American-Statesman reported that Cathy Barnett asked Gifford, “Why did you take her from us?”
The Statesman reported Gifford did not respond as his father cried behind him. Gifford’s family did not testify.
Gifford’s attorney David Sheppard and Renick’s attorney Kent Anschutz could not be reached for comment as of press time.