CLEVELAND (TCD) -- A Cuyahoga County judge sentenced a 40-year-old man to several decades in prison for killing his 18-year-old girlfriend and leaving her body on a balcony under a pile of bags.
The Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office announced Monday, June 12, that Bennie Washington was handed life in prison with the possibility of parole after 38 years for the 2021 death of his girlfriend, Audreona Barnes. A jury convicted Washington May 24 of two counts of murder, two counts of felonious assault, and one count of gross abuse of a corpse. The judge also found Washington guilty of having weapons under disability.
The prosecutor's office said Washington shot and killed Barnes on or about July 30, 2021, at his Cleveland apartment near Warner Road and Laumar Avenue. Washington got evicted from his apartment March 11, 2022, and six days later, the apartment manager walked into the unit and "noticed garbage bags and blankets on the balcony and believed a body was under there."
The manager contacted Cleveland Police, and officers arrived along with Cleveland EMS, who found Barnes' body under the pile of bags. Her remains were reportedly "severely decomposed."
Cleveland Police officers arrested Washington March 19, 2022.
Her family reported her missing to the Warrensville Police Department soon after she was believed to have been killed.