Trial underway for man accused of killing Warrensville Heights girlfriend, leaving body on balcony

Bennie Washington is charged in the death of Audreona Barnes who was missing for 8 months
Published: May. 16, 2023 at 7:50 AM EDT|Updated: May. 16, 2023 at 9:11 AM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - The jury trial for Bennie Washington continues Tuesday front of Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Judge William McGinty.

The jury was seated Monday and opening statements were heard Tuesday morning and the prosecutors called their first witnesses to the stand.

Washington, 40, is accused of shooting his girlfriend Audreona Barnes, 18, and then leaving her body on his second-floor apartment balcony in the 4300 block of Warner Rd. in Cleveland.

Barnes was reported missing to Warrensville Heights police in July 2021.

Family members said she had dreams of joining the Army and met with recruiters the last day she was seen.

On March 17, 2022, a manager at Washington’s apartment building entered the apartment and noticed garbage bags and blankets on the balcony. Believing there was a body hidden underneath, the manager called police, said officials.

Cleveland police responded to the scene and recovered the severely decomposed body.

Audreona Barnes
Audreona Barnes(Katie Tercek)

Washington was taken into custody on March 19, 2022.

Bennie Washington
Bennie Washington((Source: Cuyahoga County Sheriff))

Washington was indicted on the charges of aggravated murder, murder, kidnapping, felonious assault, offenses against a human corpse and having weapons while under disability.