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Victims leave signs at Barnes gravesite
Family told police they feared for their safety

COVINGTON - Family members of Lanny Barnes contacted the Covington Police Department the morning after his burial to inform them that two signs had been placed on his grave in Westview Cemetery on West Street, according to Covington Police Department spokesman Detective D.J. Seals.

"The signs were similar to those the protesters had at the funeral the day before," Seals said.

Those signs were held up by Anita King and Stephanie Casola, victims of Barnes' 2006 rampage when he ran down the family as they left McDonald's restaurant on U.S. 278, injuring them, Casola's two sons and killing King's 2-year-old daughter, Avery. Barnes was alone at the time of the incident and was captured almost immediately by Covington Police a couple of blocks from the restaurant.

The signs read, "We love and miss you Avery," "Child murder," "Today the world is a better place," and "Avery King is the true victim."

Barnes pleaded guilty to all charges in connection with the assault and was given a life sentence, which he was serving at the time of his death on June 24.

"We contacted the King and Casola families and spoke to them, and they both agreed to drop it and leave them (the Barnes family) alone," Seals said.

Seals said no damage was done to the grave or grave marker, and after checking the city code, it was determined that no law had been broken.

No charges have been filed, although Seals said the Barnes family was concerned for their safety.

"Officers removed the signs and reassured the Barnes family that the family of Mr. Barnes' victims would be contacted and advised not to return," Seals said in a press release.

In the meantime, the Barnes family has posted "no trespassing" signs around the perimeter of Lanny Barnes' grave. The signs have the Bible verse Isaiah 54:17 printed on the back: "'No weapon that is formed against you shall prosper; And every tongue that accuses you in judgment you will condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord. And their vindication is from Me,' declares the Lord."

Barbara Knowles can be reached at barbara.knowles@newtoncitizen.com