A 26-year-old New York man who previously resided at the Jersey Shore has been handed a life sentence by an Ocean County Superior Court judge Wednesday.
Anthony Barksdale was found guilty of murder on June 29 following a jury trial that commenced in early March 2020 – prior to the onset of the novel coronavirus – which needed to be suspended due to health and safety concerns related to the pandemic. The jury also found Barksdale guilty of conspiracy to commit murder, unlawful possession of a weapon, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, and possession of a weapon by a convicted person.
Superior Court Judge Guy P. Ryan sentenced Barksdale to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole in the killing of Steven Stallworth in Toms River on March 5, 2018.
The murder occurred in Toms River at the Hampton Gardens apartment complex on James Street, on March 5, 2018.
In rendering its verdict, the jury concluded that Barksdale purposely or knowingly caused the death of Stallworth, who was found unresponsive outside an apartment and died of a gunshot wound. The jury also found Barksdale guilty of conspiracy to commit murder, unlawful possession of a weapon, and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose. Barksdale will continue to remain lodged in the Ocean County Jail pending sentencing by Ryan on Aug. 19, 2020, at which time the state will be seek a sentence of life imprisonment.
During the course of the ensuing investigation two suspects – Barksdale and another man, Sevon Hill, 25 at the time – were identified as persons of interest in the case, and ultimately charged. According to prosecutors, both suspects were residing at a local hotel prior to the murder. During a search of the suspects’ hotel room on the night of the murder, a large quantity of cocaine and heroin were discovered.
Hill cooperated with prosecutors and testified against Barksdale.
The suspects reportedly owed tens of thousands of dollars in debt to Stallworth over previous drug deals and committed the murder to wipe out the debt, prosecutors alleged in court.