Man arrested in connection with Jazmine Barnes' death appears in court

HOUSTON – One of the men taken into custody and charged in connection with the death of 7-year-old Jazmine Barnes appeared back in court Monday.

The Harris County Sheriff’s Office took Eric Black Jr., 20, into custody Sunday and charged him with capital murder after civil rights activist Shaun King received a tip leading authorities to Black.

According to authorities, Black admitted to driving the car used in Barnes' Dec. 30 shooting after he was arrested during a traffic stop in a different vehicle.

Investigators also said they found a gun in Black’s home which is consistent with shell casings found at the scene. 

VIDEO: Eric Black makes court appearance for preliminary hearing

The HCSO also took Larry Woodruffe, 24, into custody on a drug charge Sunday, but he has not yet been charged in connection to the case. 

Woodruffe was arrested during a separate traffic stop and was found with a bottle containing 124 Xanax pills, according to prosecutors.

According to prosecutors,  Woodruffe may have been the gunman who fired at the vehicle Barnes and her family were in.

Neither men matched the description originally released by authorities of a white man driving a red truck, but Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said the man was likely just a witness to the crime and not involved in the shooting.

Barnes’ father, Christopher Cevilla, is just relieved someone was arrested and he can bury his daughter in peace. 

"I feel some relief 'cause now my baby's got justice,” Cevilla said. “We can properly put her to rest without having to put her to rest and be still on a manhunt looking for a suspect, suspects. Whatever it may be. "I'm hurt, I'm upset, but at the same time, I'm happy law enforcement did their job."

Prosecutors said Barnes was killed as a product of mistaken identity.

“The source said the suspects thought the complainant’s vehicle was some other person’s vehicle that they had seen earlier in the night and that they shot the car by mistake,” prosecutors said as they read from Black’s probable cause document during the hearing. “The source said that they did not realize the vehicle that they had shot into was the complainant’s vehicle until seeing it on the news later in the day.”

Black appeared in court for his preliminary hearing. He is being held in Harris County Jail without bond.

Woodruffe is also being held in Harris County Jail. He is expected in court Wednesday, and his bond was set at $100,000.

About the Author:

Daniela Sternitzky-Di Napoli has been a digital news editor at KPRC 2 since 2018. She is a published poet and has background in creative writing and journalism. Daniela has covered events like Hurricane Harvey and the Astros World Series win. In her spare time, Daniela is an avid reader and loves to spend time with her two miniature dachshunds.