KCSO: Man arrested for murder used his brother’s identity during investigation

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The Kern County Sheriff’s Office said one of two men recently arrested for murder after being discovered with a dead body inside the car he was a passenger in on Highway 65 in January, used his brother’s identity up until his arrest early Friday morning.

KCSO said deputies arrested Adam Barness early Friday morning. They said Adam Barness identified himself as Ben Barness, his own brother, from the start of KCSO’s investigation of a homicide in January. 

On Jan. 16, CHP pulled over Barness and another man on Highway 65 near Merle Haggard Drive. A third person, identified as Evmir Evangelista, was dead inside the car.

Barness later agreed to a plea bargain on a possession of a stolen vehicle charge and was later released in March, the sheriff’s office said.

After the coroner determined Evangelista’s death was a homicide, arrest warrants were issued for Ben Barness and Manpreet Sidhu on May 29. After deputies arrested Ben Barness, they found his fingerprints didn’t match with the ones believed to belong to Barness as taken in January.

That’s when KCSO discovered Adam Barness used Ben Barness’ identity through the criminal investigation.

The sheriff’s office said Adam and Ben did not have prior arrest records or other records on file to confirm Adam Barness’ identity when he was originally booked in January.

The sheriff’s office said Ben Barness was immediately released from custody on May 31 and Adam Barness was arrested Friday morning. 

Adam Barness is currently being held without bail for murder. He is scheduled to appear in court on June 5.

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