A soldier accused of fatally stabbing, strangling and burning the body of the mother of his then-14-year-old girlfriend argued Tuesday that only the daughter was to blame for her mom’s death in Pennsylvania in 2015.
Prosecutors claimed they unearthed text messages 21-year-old Caleb Barnes sent to his then-girlfriend Jamie Silvonek showing that he feared losing his job at Ft. Meade in Maryland if Cheryl Silvonek called the cops to complain about the couple’s age difference, The Morning Call reported.
“I have the knives picked out,” said one chilling text, which prosecutors flashed on a large screen in the courtroom as Barnes’ trial got underway Tuesday.
But Barnes’ lawyer, Richard Webster, told the jury that Jamie was a “liar” and “manipulator” and “wanted her mother dead.”
“She killed her own mother,” Webster said, while admitting that Barnes helped bury the Upper Macungie Township woman.
Jamie Silvonek, who was charged as an adult, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and was sentenced to 35 years to life in state prison in February. Though Jamie testified at her plea hearing that “she’s dead and it’s my fault,” she didn't absolve Barnes of blame, according to records obtained by The Morning Call. Jamie is set to testify at Barnes’ trial.
Prosecutors said the couple killed Cheryl Silvonek as they sat in her SUV after Cheryl drove the pair to a rock concert in Scranton on March 15, 2015. The trio was in the vehicle in the Silvonek driveway at 1 a.m. and Cheryl was attempting to convince Barnes and Jamie to break up, authorities allege. That’s when Cheryl was beaten, strangled and stabbed in the neck multiple times.
Prosecutors believe Barnes held the blade. Barnes’ team said Jamie wielded the knife.
Barnes allegedly confessed to burning Cheryl’s body before the pair buried her in a shallow, snow-filled grave, Lehigh Valley Live reported. Officials said the two then went to Walmart to purchase bleach to clean the murder scene. Cheryl’s body was found later that morning and Jamie and Barnes were soon arrested. Authorities allegedly found the couple naked in Jamie’s bed.
“I was a monster,” Jamie said during her plea hearing. “There is no sugarcoating it and there is absolutely no sympathy. There’s no mitigating factors. In my opinion, there’s absolutely nothing.”