Butler County killer re-captured in Oklahoma gets 25 years in prison

Butler County killer re-captured in Oklahoma gets 25 years in prison
Steven Faulk, the victim (Courtesy: Faulk Family)
Steven Faulk, the victim (Courtesy: Faulk Family)
Maxwell Barnes (Source: New Brockton Police Department)
Maxwell Barnes (Source: New Brockton Police Department)

BUTLER CO., AL (WSFA) - A Butler County woman who was a no-show at her murder trial and who fled to Oklahoma has finally learned her fate for a 2012 homicide. Barbara Wood pleaded guilty Tuesday in Butler County Circuit Court to murdering Steven Faulk, 40. She was sentenced to 25 years in prison, nearly four years after the crime.

Wood was convicted of killing Faulk, and she may also be connected to the disappearance of another man. After time on the run and time behind bars in Oklahoma, Wood was extradited to Alabama in September.

Her case spins a tangled web of events that all started in June 2015 when she skipped town instead of reporting to court to stand trial for murder. She was out on bond at the time.

After fleeing, Wood met up with and befriended Maxwell Barnes, an elderly Coffee County man. Authorities say she used Barnes for his money.

Wood was on the run for weeks before she surfaced and was captured in Oklahoma - more than 800 miles away - after a high speed chase with police that spanned 35 miles and reached speeds of more than 100 mph. She faced several charges in the incident.

At the time of her arrest, Wood was in Barnes' car, but he was nowhere to be found. As for her own vehicle, it later turned up in a salvage yard.

Detectives in Duncan, Oklahoma said DNA results from blood found on Barnes' checkbook - which was recovered from Wood's car - came back to that of a male, further fueling their concerns about his safety and foul play in his disappearance. Officials have not revealed whether the blood was a match to Barnes after additional forensic tests were done.

Barnes' family says he befriended Wood in 2014 and they would often talk on the phone. He would visit her in Greenville.

Around the time her murder trial was set to start in Butler County, Barnes left his home in New Brockton and at some point, linked up with her. They traveled to Oklahoma to visit several of his relatives. He then vanished.

Wood and another unidentified person were labeled persons of interest in his disappearance, which remains under investigation.

Meanwhile, prosecutors sought some closure for the Faulk's family after years of waiting for the court case to come to a conclusion. Faulk and his fiancée went to confront Wood over a stolen purse the night he was murdered. Wood shot Faulk with a shotgun while he attempted to appear as a peacemaker in the conflict.

Butler County District Attorney Charlotte Tesmer said the victim's mother and sister approved of the plea deal and wanted closure on the case.

"I can't bring Steven back, but I hope his family feels some sense of justice and that this part of the mourning process is behind them," Tesmer said.

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