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St. Croix Man Accepts Plea Deal In 2017 Killing Of Gregory Barnes In Watergut

KINGSHILL — A St. Croix man has pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter for the 2017 shooting death of 36-year-old Gregory Barnes, court records indicate.

Elwood Canton Jr., 66, was initially arrested and charged with second-degree murder and five related crimes, Superior Court documents said.

In a plea agreement signed April 8, Canton admitted to killing Barnes, and pleaded guilty to the lesser included offense of involuntary manslaughter, and possession of ammunition.

The parties have reserved the right to argue Canton’s appropriate prison sentence before Judge Alphonso Andrews Jr. They also agreed that he should serve no more than five years for the ammunition charge, according to the plea agreement .

According to court records, Canton was released from jail in March 2020, and has been paying $280 a month for electronic monitoring while he awaits trial. Sentencing is scheduled for July 20.

The homicide case began over what police said was a “minor dispute” that escalated into a fatal shooting at Watergut Shanty in Christiansted.

Residents called 911 on the evening of Saturday, July 1, 2017, to report gunshots, and officers responded and said they found Barnes unresponsive and suffering “multiple gunshots to the body.”

Barnes was transported to Luis Hospital where he was pronounced dead, police said.

Police arrested Barnes hours after the shooting, and said that Barnes “got into a minor dispute” and “became aggressive and confrontational.”

Police said at the time that Canton attempted to leave, but Barnes “physically pushed Mr. Canton in the chest.”

At that point, according to the police statement, Canton shot and killed Barnes.

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VI Free Press

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