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'Sad and horrific case' | Man accused of killing, dismembering 72-year-old mother has violent history, court records show

Robert Barnes, 36, has faced criminal charges in Harris and Fort Bend counties and was put on probation earlier this year, according to court documents.

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas — A man accused of killing his mother, dismembering her body and hiding the remains in a wooden crate in Cypress, has a history of violence, court records show. 

Sheriff Ed Gonzalez called it a "sad and horrific case." He said Robert Barnes, 36, was arrested and charged with murder and tampering after the remains of 72-year-old Lucila Barnes were found.

The Harris County Sheriff's Office said deputies found the victim Thursday morning in the garage of her home in the 11100 block of Cactus Point Circle in northwest Harris County.

Family members told investigators they had gone to the home to check on Lucilla because they hadn't heard from her since Tuesday. But they said Robert confronted them with a rifle and refused to let them inside the home, so they called for help.

“Actually brandished a firearm outside the residence and was not cooperative with investigators when they first arrived on scene,” Brown said. “And wouldn’t let anybody else inside the house. That’s what led the deputies to eventually get a search warrant to go inside the house.”

Deputies returned with the warrant on Thursday and found a lot of blood inside the home but no sign of Lucila -- until they checked the garage.

According to the sheriff's office, Barnes confessed to killing his mother and dismembering her body.

Investigators have not revealed the murder weapon but court documents show Barnes has a history with knives and guns dating back to at least 2003.

2003: Pleaded guilty to theft of a firearm in Fort Bend County

2004: Found guilty of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in Fort Bend County

2005: Convicted of criminal mischief in Richmond

2016: Barnes was convicted of unlawful restraint for threatening a woman in his truck with a knife. Court records show he grabbed her by her hair, forced his fingers inside her mouth to keep her quiet and pointed a pocket knife at her. Barnes was originally charged with aggravated kidnapping but the charge was lowered to a misdemeanor.

2019: Barnes was arrested after he refused to leave Hotel Zaza after not paying his bill. investigators found him on his hotel room bed with a knife. Earlier this year, Barnes was given 16 months probation for that case. 

Back on Cactus Point Court, neighbors were stunned to hear about what happened to Barnes' mother.

“We just see her out gardening and lawns and that kind of stuff like normal things," a neighbor named Brandon said. "We were all very neighborly. She was very nice. We got to, we talked to her probably more during the freeze than anything else and everybody, everybody here is super friendly and nice.”

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