Family of man wrongfully accused by activist Shaun King in Jazmine Barnes' shooting speaks out

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Tuesday, January 8, 2019
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Family of man wrongfully accused by activist Shaun King in Jazmine Barnes' shooting speaks out

HOUSTON -- The family of a man whose photo went viral on social media as a possible suspect in the murder of 7-year-old Jazmine Barnes is telling everyone to "back off."

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Hailey Cantrell says despite the arrests of two suspects in the murder case, as recent as Monday, there have been threatening comments on her Facebook page regarding her uncle, Robert Cantrell.

"I hear, 'Someone is going to rape, torture and murder the women and children in your family," Hailey read from one comment.

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Photos of her uncle were widely circulated starting last Friday. In a now-deleted Twitter post, activist Shaun King, who has one million followers, posted Cantrell's mugshot and wrote, "We've had 20 people call or email us and say he is a racist, violent (expletive) and always has been. Just tell me everything you know."

As a white man with blue eyes, he resembles the sketch the Harris County Sheriff's Office released last week. Even his niece was afraid it was him.

"I'm not going to lie, I teared up," said Cantrell.

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The sheriff's office now believes the sketch is of a witness that Jazmine's sisters remembered and has said all evidence shows the little girl and her family were innocent victims.

Eric Black, 20, is charged with capital murder. Larry Woodruffe, 24, is in jail on an unrelated charge, but believed to be the shooter, according to ABC13 sources. Both are African American.

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"I just want everyone to back off. The truth is out. It had nothing to do with us, nothing to do with my uncle at all," said Hailey.

King did not respond Monday to repeated requests for comment.