A linebacker for the University of Miami Hurricanes, Marlin Barnes, 22, and his friend, Timwanika Lumpkins, also 22, were brutally murdered by Labrant Dennis in an on-campus apartment. Death of a Lineman on Investigation Discovery delves deeper into the case.
When Barnes’ roommate and teammate, Earl Little, returned to their apartment in Miami, Florida, on the morning of April 13, 1996, to retrieve the keys to his truck, a black Ford Explorer, he had an inkling something was wrong when he saw his vehicle tilting on its right side.
After closely examining his truck, he noticed the tires had been slashed. That’s when he rushed upstairs to the apartment, where he made a shocking and gruesome discovery.
Little found Barnes on the floor, badly beaten with his head leaning against the front door, making it difficult for him to enter the apartment.
When Little called out to him, Barnes did not respond, but he could hear him gasping for air.
Little immediately notified police.
Dan Oppert of the Coral Gables Police Department responded to the call. When he arrived at the scene and searched the apartment, he made another shocking discovery.
Inside the bedroom was Barnes’ friend, Lumpkins, lying face down with severe trauma to the back of her head.
By the time emergency medical services arrived, Barnes was no longer breathing, and he was pronounced dead at the scene.
Lumpkins died moments after being airlifted to an area hospital.
When Miami-Dade police scoured the apartment for evidence, they uncovered fragments of a shotgun trigger guard on the floor, as well as pieces of metal, hair, fingernails, bones, and teeth.
Further investigation determined that robbery was not a motive for the killing as police discovered cash and jewelry still in the apartment.
When a tip from an anonymous call to Crime Stoppers led Dennis as the suspect, police concluded that Barnes and Lumpkins had been beaten to death in a jealous rage.
Dennis was Lumpkins ex-boyfriend and the father of her child.
The pair lived together a week before her death; however, Lumpkins moved out after she and Dennis got into a heated argument about her spending an evening with Barnes and coming home late.
Dennis reportedly thought Barnes helped her move out of the home.
The night before the killing, Dennis borrowed a shotgun and a duffel bag from a friend.
Shortly before dawn approached, Dennis entered Barnes’ on-campus apartment where his ex-girlfriend was located and brutally beat them with the butt of the shotgun.
Afterward, Dennis removed his clothing, a black, hooded sweatshirt and black boots, and placed them inside the duffel bag, along with the severely damaged shotgun.
He then discarded the duffel bag in a sewer drain in which police later recovered.
Officials said the shotgun fragments found inside Barnes’ apartment matched the shotgun in the duffel bag.
Dennis, who was 23 at the time of the murders, was arrested and charged with two counts of first-degree murder.
On February 26, 1999, Dennis was sentenced to death by the electric chair.
Dennis claims he’s innocent and has tried multiple times to appeal his sentence, but they have all been denied.
Death of a Lineman on Investigation Discovery, airs at 10:00 p.m.