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Former state lawmaker reacts to friend's strangulation death

Posted at 5:40 PM, Jul 02, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-03 10:35:03-04

CHRISTIANA, Tenn. (WTVF) — A former state lawmaker is remembering a friend who was recently killed at his home in Rutherford County.

Jim Tracy, the current USDA rural state director of Tennessee, said he was blown away after learning that his friend of 20 years was murdered at his Christiana home.

Authorities said three people broke in to 68-year-old Terry Barber's home on Walnut Grove Road with the intent to rob him.

Devan Gailey, Brent Ross and Vernice Farra bound and restrained Barber, then assaulted and strangled him for an unknown period of time before taking off with his wallet and phone, according to their arrest affidavit.

A friend later found his body.

All three suspects face charges of first-degree murder, aggravated kidnapping and especially aggravated robbery. Detectives don't believe this was a random murder and that there was a connection with at least one of the suspects.

There could be additional arrests.

Gailey and Ross are being held without bond at Rutherford County Adult Detention Center while Farrar is being held in a Florida detention center while awaiting extradition.

"When I first heard about it I said Terry is not the kind of guy people would get upset with," Tracy said.

Tracy knew Barber because both umpired and officiated high school games together for many years. Barber is well-known as an umpire, referee and announcer at Rutherford County schools games.

Barber is described as someone who loved people, charismatic but is a big sports nerd above all.

In recent years, Barber sold SEC memorabilia from his so-called “SEC Battlefields” van.

"I would call him a sports nerd, he was so nerdy about sports he kept up with all the different teams," Tracy said.

Barber was laid to rest on Monday.