Life Sentence For Man In 2008 Highland Home Murder

Victim's Family Member Talks to CBS 8 News About The Tragic Day


By Catalina Trivino


From Crenshaw County -- a Ramer man learns his fate for killing two people during a robbery in Highland Home.


It happened in 2008 when two people were shot and killed at Kelley's Grocery, leaving the Highland Home Community shaken.




On Tuesday, Antonio McNear was given two life sentences for the murders of Patricia Barganere and Charles Kelley. He also received three 99-year sentences for robbing the two victims, and for the attempted murder of Kelley's mother, Betty.

"They got out of the truck and went into the store, just like they always did or said they did. And a few minutes [later], I heard cops come out here," described Kelley.

She's talking about the day two men entered her family's Highland Home Grocery Store. Crenshaw County authorities say Antonio McNear and John Thomas came through this door with intentions of robbing the store. Meanwhile, Kelley sat on the porch swing of her home located next to the grocery -- and moments later was when the worst happened.

"Then, I heard gun shooting and I ran out there to see if they were alright. When I got out there, both of them were dead," Said Kelley, who says the chaos wasn't over yet. She says she was next.

"Thomas says, 'we got another one to get.' And he was talking about me..."

Kelley says she ran to her home to call for help. Two bullets struck right past her -- one by her head. Minutes later, officers arrived.

Four years later, Kelley says her life will never be the same, but she says McNear's sentencing gives her some closure.

"Makes me feel good because you're scared to go anywhere; scared they'll turn them loose or something."


The District Attorney's office tells CBS 8 McNear will be eligible for parole in eleven years. Thomas was also found guilty back in March for the deaths of Kelley and Barganere. He was sentenced to life without parole.