13-time felon gets 6 years for choking, robbing man on Boystown side street

Parnell Barners allegedly choked, robbed, and tried to sexually assault a man on the street near Waveland and Halsted in Boystown. | CPD; Google

A 13-time violent felon has reached a plea deal with prosecutors who accused him of robbing, choking, and trying to sexually assault a man on a Boystown side street in August 2018.

Parnell Barners, 56, had just finished a six-year prison term for beating a man with a brick at the Belmont Red Line station when he allegedly attacked the 27-year-old on the 800 block of West Waveland.

And, remarkably, another Boystown resident accused Barners of robbing them in the neighborhood five months earlier, but prosecutors dropped the case.

Robbery and assault

Early on August 28, 2018, Barners approached a man walking on Waveland near Halsted Street and asked the victim if he wanted to have sex, prosecutors alleged. The man declined and kept walking, but Barners pushed him down a stairwell and began choking him during an attempted sexual assault, police said.

The victim fought back and clawed at Barners’ face until the attack stopped, according to prosecutors. Barners then allegedly went through the victim’s pants pockets and took his phone before running away.

Nearly two hours after the attack, the victim’s stolen phone began pinging in the River North neighborhood. Cops went to the area of Clark and Division, where Barners was taken into custody along with a small group of others. Only Barners was charged in the case.

Barners has now pleaded guilty to one count of robbery in an agreement with prosecutors. He has been sentenced to six years. According to Illinois Department of Corrections records, after receiving credit for time served and a 50% sentence reduction for good behavior, he is expected to be paroled on August 17, 2021.

Four months before the attack, police arrested Barners at his Uptown home after a Boystown resident identified him in a photo array as the man who pushed him to the ground and robbed him in the 3500 block of North Halsted Street around 1:30 a.m. on March 2, 2018. Prosecutors charged Barners with the robbery, but the case was later dropped by the state for unspecified reasons.

On May 20, 2014, Barners was arrested and charged with aggravated battery after he beat a man in the head with a brick in the 900 block of West School Street. He pleaded guilty, received a six-year sentence, and was paroled in May 2017.

Barners’ previous convictions earned him four years for aggravated battery in 2008; three years for narcotics in 2007; 30 months for shoplifting in 2005; ten years for robbery in 1995; three years for theft and another three years for narcotics in 1992; seven years for burglary and another seven years for home invasion in 1987; three years for aggravated battery in 1987; and five years for robbery and another five years for aggravated battery in 1984. He began prison life in 1982 when he was sentenced to four years for robbery, six years for a different robbery, and four years for theft.

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CWBChicago was created in 2013 by five residents of Wrigleyville and Boystown who had grown disheartened with inaccurate information that was being provided at local Community Policing (CAPS) meetings. Our coverage area has expanded since then to cover Lincoln Park, River North, The Loop, Uptown, and other North Side Areas. But our mission remains unchanged: To provide original public safety reporting with better context and greater detail than mainstream media outlets. Our editorial email address is news@cwbchicago.com