A Chicago man has pleaded guilty to committing two robberies on CTA trains in 2022 while he was on probation for having a gun at a Red Line station. He received three years for the robberies, but he was handed three more for battering a jail worker while he was awaiting trial.
The gun charge arose on June 16, 2022, when police responded to a domestic altercation at the 79th Street Red Line station. A witness told officers that the man who was involved in the domestic had given a pistol to Barner, who was also at the scene, according to prosecutors. The officers said they found a loaded 9-millimeter handgun in Barner’s possession.
He pleaded guilty two months later in exchange for a sentence of two years of probation and 120 hours of community service from Judge Adrienne Davis, according to court records.
Just seven weeks after getting probation, on October 30, Barner and two accomplices robbed a 29-year-old man on the Red Line near Roosevelt.
The victim told police that the robbers were on his train car when Barner commented that he liked the chain the victim was wearing, prosecutors said. That comment made the victim feel unsafe, so he moved to a different train car. The trio followed him.
In the second car, a woman grabbed the chain from the victim’s neck, and all three offenders punched the victim in the face and body. Prosecutors said the victim tried to push the offenders off the train, but they continued attacking him until he moved to a third car. He suffered a black eye, bruises, and cuts to his face. The pendant was worth about $300.
A Chicago police officer who arrested Barner for having a gun at 79th Street saw a video of the robbery and immediately recognized him, prosecutors said.
A few days later, on November 5, Barner robbed another man on the Orange Line near Halsted.
After sitting across from the victim, Barner asked the man what size shoe he wore, prosecutors said.
“Do you want those shoes?” Barner allegedly asked. “What kind of phone do you have? Does it have a lock code on it?”
The victim stayed quiet, but Barner pressed on.
“Look,” he allegedly told the victim, “this can go the easy way or the hard way.”
At that point, Barner stood up and punched the victim several times in the head, prosecutors said. The accomplice joined in.
Three accomplices joined the fight when another passenger tried to intervene. Barner pushed the victim back onto his seat, took his phone, punched him in the face, and searched his pockets, prosecutors said.
“Just give up your s**t and this will go a lot easier,” one of the accomplices advised.
Prosecutors said the victim suffered a concussion after being punched 20 to 30 times.
Barner pleaded guilty to both robberies. Judge Davis gave him three years for each, to be served concurrently. He also pleaded guilty to aggravated battery of a peace officer, a case filed against him while he was in jail in December 2022. Davis handed him a consecutive three-year term for that.
His prison time, effectively six years, will be reduced by 50% for good behavior. With credits earned in jail, he is expected to be released on April 8, 2027.
Officials terminated his gun probation sentence “unsatisfactorily.”