Man learns former boss was plotting his murder after accidental call

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Larry Barnett's mugshot (Courtesy: Craighead County Sheriff's Department)

JONESBORO, Ark. — There’s at least one person an Arkansas man won’t be calling for an employer reference, and they’ve probably had the last phone “conversation” they’ll ever have. KAIT reports the man received an inadvertent phone call from his former boss, Larry Barnett, and heard Barnett conspiring with another person to kill him.

KAIT reports that Barnett owns a used car dealership and owes his former employee a sum of money that he told the hitman he didn’t wish to pay. Barnett had previously tried to kill the man, but unsuccessfully, and offered $5,000 up front this time.

“Basically, he overheard a conversation between that individual and another unknown male and he was giving out his personal information, his address, where he lives,” Sergeant Doug Formon with the Jonesboro Police Department said.

The TV station reports that court documents state Barnett told the hitman, “I don’t care if you have to burn his house to the ground with him in it” and also to, “make it look like an accident.”

The former employee proceeded to alert the authorities and filed a police report. While he was doing that, it appeared the hitman had already gone to work. When the victim returned home, police said it had been burglarized and that a gas stove had been tampered with.

Barnett was jailed for conspiracy to commit murder and two other felonies tied to forging documents at his car dealership. Sgt. Formon said the way the victim learned of the attempted hit was a first.

“I’ve been here now for 25 years and I’ve never recalled a time when a subject has accidentally, if you will, ‘butt-dialed’ someone they’re either trying to commit a crime against or the possible victim of the crime,” Formon told KAIT.

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