Sanford police arrest woman's boyfriend as suspect in her shooting death

53-year-old insurance agent Cynthia McGee Bryant shot, killed at office

Published On: Jan 07 2014 05:36:41 PM EST   Updated On: Jan 09 2014 06:32:31 PM EST
Richard Barnes
SANFORD, Fla. -

A judge on Wednesday denied bond for the prime suspect police say is responsible for shooting and killing a female insurance agent in her office on Monday.

Richard Barnes, 46, was spotted by witnesses arriving at the McGee Insurance company on West 25th Street on Monday afternoon before several gunshots were heard, police said. He was spotted rushing away from the scene through a back alley, according to witness Pauline Perkins, who lives near the insurance company.

Police said 53-year-old Cynthia McGee Bryant was killed in the shooting. Barnes is her boyfriend, according to police.

Barnes, who is homeless, was last seen leaving the insurance agency and has been named as the prime suspect in McGee Bryant's death. He was arrested at 1 p.m. on Wednesday after officers found him walking along Magnolia Street.

The Sanford Police Chief says it appears McGee was on the phone when she was shot 2-4 times with a handgun, but there was no one on the other end of the line.

Barnes is charged with first-degree murder. Sanford police told Local 6 they believe it was premeditated.

"I didn't kill Cynthia, I love Cynthia," said Barnes.

Barnes pleaded his innocence to Local 6's cameras as police took him to jail.

Local 6's Amaka Ubaka asked him, "They are saying you did it. You shot her multiple times?"

"Look at the cameras, look at the tape, look at the tape, I never left Parramore," said Barnes.

Friends tell Local 6 the two had been dating for a few years on-and-off-again and that Barnes would help out with chores around the office.

According to Seminole County Sheriff's Office dispatch records, last year, McGee Bryant's alarm company contacted authorities and reported they heard her and a man arguing. But when deputies responded, they did not generate a report because McGee Bryant was not harmed physically and the man had left.

Authorities were not immediately able to find a record of the man involved in that incident. No charges were filed.

Margaret Barnes is Richard Barnes' ex-wife. She said she divorced him in 2011 after a rocky and often times violent relationship. She said she's been in fear of her life while with him.

"Yes, at one point, on two occasions because you can't predict Richard," said Barnes.

Barnes said her ex-husband was addicted to drugs and manipulative with both her and Bryant.

"I warned her how he was, how he steals the things," said Barnes. "He does and he was living with her, and she moved him to Heathrow."

According to Seminole County court records, Richard Barnes does have a criminal record. He's been arrested for loitering, driving without a valid license and sexual assault involving domestic violence. The victim information in the sex assault case is unavailable.

Bishop Antonio Richardson of the West Livingston Church of God in Orlando said McGee Bryant has been a member at the church for over 20 years. He said she was in the process of becoming an ordained minister when she was found murdered.

Richardson said Barnes also came to the church on a few occasions, but the two never appeared to be together or in a relationship.

"Usually (McGee Bryant) introduced me to everyone and say pastor, 'I'm bringing my aunt, my cousin my sister whatever. She never mentioned this person," said Richardson. "I talked with relatives and no one was even aware that she was in a relationship with him."