NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The mother of a man killed at a popular downtown bar is disappointed in the charges seven men face in her son’s homicide investigation.
Dallas “DJ” Barrett, 22, died of asphyxiation on Aug. 16 at Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row after being held down by security staff and a patron, according to police.
Dylan Larocca, John Eustace, Mark Watkins, Mallet Meneese, Jaelen Maxwell, Tarrell Gray and Steven Simon face reckless homicide and aggravated assault charges in the homicide investigation.
“They killed him. He will never be here with his family again, we will never see him again,” Tammy Barrett told News 2 as her eyes began to swell.
It’s difficult for Tammy to look at the faces of the seven men indicted in her son’s death.
“He didn’t deserve to die, especially in the way he did when they laid on top of him and smothered him to death when he begged for air, begged that he couldn’t breathe. It was senseless there was no reason for it whatsoever, none. It just comes from pure, they didn’t care, they didn’t know what to do to detain him properly, so they just laid on top of him,” she explained.
The incident was caught on camera following an altercation with security staff. Witnesses say Barrett yelled “I can’t breathe” before he died of asphyxiation.
“This is at the very least clearly a second-degree murder, the knowing killing of another. Based on the limited video we have seen, we know these gentlemen are laying on top of Dallas to the point where he screams that he can’t breathe. They consciously ignore that, they continue in their actions and he dies as a result. How can you not impute knowledge to them that they knew they were killing him?” stated Barrett’s attorney Jon Slager, adding that sentencing only carries 3 to 6 years and it could be probation.
DJ’s mother is left with a mix of emotions — satisfied all seven were indicted but insulted by the charges.
“It’s a lot of anger, disappointment. You know they will see their family again. They are going to celebrate Christmas, Thanksgiving, birthdays. It may or may not be some time away from the family, but at least they will be coming home,” she sighed.
The closest Tammy will get to her 22-year-old son is by grasping hold of memories, as his ashes sit bedside her on her dresser.
“I see them every morning when I get up, alongside the pictures that are right there beside him. I still have his toothbrush in the bathroom. There’s a lot I haven’t taken down. I can’t make myself take the toothbrush out for some reason,” she said with tears in her eyes.
The reality that he is gone is still hard to comprehend, especially around the holidays.
“I just, I just try to go day by day. That’s all I can do. The biggest thing I need right now is continued prayers for us and our family, because I’m really not sure how this is going to go,” she said.
Tammy knows Christmas will be difficult, but she is really dreading New Year’s Eve, as that is when DJ would have turned 23.
News 2 reached out to Whiskey Row for comment on the investigation, but they declined.
All seven men have already bonded out of jail.