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Man gets 13 years in Motel 6 robbery, shootout

An Albuquerque man was sentenced Tuesday to 13 years in prison for his role in a 2015 robbery-turned-shootout involving two former CNN journalists.

Skyy Barrs (Source: Bernalillo County Metropolitan Detention Center)

Skyy Barrs, 33, who served as a driver and lookout during the ordeal, pleaded guilty in May to conspiracy to commit armed robbery and trafficking heroin, according to the District Attorney’s Office and court documents. Police and prosecutors say he and Tomorio Walton were at a West Side Albuquerque Motel 6 that June 2015 night with a plan to rob someone.

Also at the motel were Lynne Russell, a former CNN anchorwoman, and her husband, Chuck de Caro, who had stopped over during a cross-country road trip. Police say Russell stepped out of the room to retrieve something from the car and when she returned, Walton forced her into her room at gunpoint.

He demanded “goods” from Russell and de Caro, who both have concealed carry permits. Russell put the couple’s two guns into her purse and handed it off to de Caro moments before Walton opened fire, hitting de Caro three times.

Lynne Russell and Chuck de Caro on a plane after they were married in Italy in 2014

Lynne Russell and Chuck de Caro on a plane after they were married in Italy in 2014. (Twitter)

De Caro shot back, killing Walton.

Michael Patrick, a spokesman for the 2nd Judicial District Attorney’s Office, said Barrs drove Walton to the motel that night and then acted as a lookout.

Early on, Barrs was charged with murder, but in July 2015 he was indicted instead on kidnapping and lesser charges. That case was dismissed over court rule violations.

A second indictment was filed in August 2017, this time charging Barrs with attempted armed robbery, conspiracy and other crimes. Patrick said prosecutors at that point had a second opportunity to comb through the case and determine what charges were most appropriate.

Under the plea agreement, Barrs faced between four and 13 years, and state District Judge Benjamin Chavez imposed the maximum sentence Tuesday.

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