A 51-year-old man named, Robert Barnes, passed away Wednesday. He had been in a coma since April.
In Only, an area of Philadelphia, Barnes was senselessly attacked by six people. He was approached by a van that unleashed a terror involving mace, a chair leg, and a hammer. The skull fractures and broken bones left Barnes in a coma for months.
There was video evidence of the assault, which took place on April 7. The six attackers, which I will not name, were charged with aggravated assault.
Three of the six were also charged with attempted murder and conspiracy. The other three, who were juveniles, were also charged with conspiracy. The six perpetrators’ circumstances will likely change with the death of Barnes. Prosecutors said that if Barnes were to die, all six people would be charged with murder.
There is not a lot of information about the late Robert Barnes. The 51-year-old was homeless after suffering from alcoholism. Robert’s sister, Diane Barnes was a main support. Diane stood by his bedside through the months since April.
Robert had always called her his twin. The last time Diane had seen her brother, he asked that the gloves meant for him be given to a fellow homeless man and friend instead.
I wish there was more I knew about Robert Barnes to share as to tribute the person this world lost. Homeless people are just as complex and nuanced as any other person walking this earth and shouldn’t be held in a different regard than those who do have homes.
I wish peace for his family and friends. In honour of Barnes’ unjust death, please consider donating to your local homeless shelter or food bank. At the very least, when you pass a homeless person on your way home, look them in the eyes, acknowledge them, and offer a smile.