Two men convicted of fatally stabbing and beating a homeless man in a wheelchair were both sentenced to 26 years to life Wednesday.
Blake Beach, 24, and Matthew Cotter, 27, were sentenced to 25 years to life, and an additional year for personal use of a deadly weapon, for the killing of William Barbour on Jan. 18, 2016, in Blythe.
Co-defendant in the Barbour murder, Cody James Winn, is scheduled for trial on Feb. 4.
Prosecutors say Barbour suffered “23 sharp force injuries” to his body and “11 sharp force injuries and multiple blunt force injuries to the head and face,” according to a prosecutor’s trial brief, which also says his skull “was crushed inward around the eyes and nose” and that he suffered “multiple stab wounds around the left temple and eye and left chest.”
Within a day of the killing, surveillance footage from the gas station led investigators to identify and arrest the men, who prosecutors allege separately confessed to killing Barbour with a variety of knives and a billy club, according to the brief.
Blood from one of the knives and the billy club, both seized from Winn, matched Barbour, the brief states. A bloody butterfly knife was also seized from Beach, but DNA results were inconclusive.
Court documents did not mention a motive for the killing.
“It’s written in a book, I’ve heard the lawyers say it. I think it’s apropos here, `Either everybody counts or nobody counts,” Judge Russell Moore said. “It doesn’t matter if Mr. Barbour owned the town of Blythe or if as he was, unfortunately, homeless, wheelchair bound, destitute individual… none of that meant that he deserved to be treated like a pin cushion.”
Beach is credited with 1,055 days of time served, while Cotter was credited with 1,054. They are also expected to pay restitution to Barbour’s family from prison.