NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Six of the seven men facing homicide charges in the death of Dallas “DJ” Barrett at Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row entered a plea of not guilty Wednesday.
Only one of the six showed in court as the others waved their right to appear for the arraignment. Jaelen Maxwell didn’t enter a plea, asking for more time for an attorney. However, Maxwell told News 2 he’s not guilty.
Wednesday was the first time any of the security guards have come face to face with DJ Barrett’s family.
“Really I just want justice for him. I mean nothing is going to bring him back, but I want justice,” Barrett’s sister Lillian Nelson told News 2.
Although justice, she says, is something their family will truly never have.
“He was robbed of a lot. He was robbed of a life. I mean 22 is young, so young,” said Nelson.
On August 16th, Barrett’s death was caught on camera. Investigators say six security guards from Whiskey Row and a patron held down the 22-year-old as he fought to breathe.
“Part of me is angry still, part of me is just sad. I just want to know why? You know, just like you know, he said he couldn’t breathe. Why that’s really all, why?” Nelson questioned.
Jaelen Maxwell, 23, admitted he was working security that night, saying it was his first day on the job. However, he says he didn’t touch Barrett, calling it an unfortunate situation. Maxwell also said he underwent training, but the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance says he is one of four security guards facing charges in Barrett’s death that was not properly licensed.
“I think that all of them want to be not guilty and I mean they will have their day in court and do what they feel is right for them. It’s not really a surprise though. I mean, it makes me kind of sad, but I didn’t expect anything else,” Nelson said.
Wednesday was the first step in a lengthy process for Barrett’s grieving family, saying it could be two years before the homicide trial begins.
“It is a long road. I think we somewhat expected that we live in a big city, it’s a big county. I know that COVID has put stuff back, that people still aren’t caught up on. It’s unfortunate, but we are here for it whether it’s two years, five years, five days, we are here. We want the justice for him,” said Nelson.
A court date was set for the discussion hearing has been set for April.
Barrett’s mother Tammy released the below statement to News 2:
“While I respectfully disagree with District Attorney General Glenn Funk respecting the lack of severity of the criminal charges brought against those persons responsible for the murder of my son, Dallas Jordan Barrett, on August 16, 2021, at Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row Nashville, I wish to extend my heartfelt gratitude and congratulations to all those within the Metropolitan Police Department and the District Attorney General’s office who have worked with integrity and diligence to identify the security personnel and private citizen who murdered my son. I am keenly aware that were my son to have been murdered in another place and at another time, it is highly likely that no one would have been held to account in a court of law. The arraignment and issuance of formal charges against those who took my son’s life represents but one small step along the arduous pathway towards obtaining justice for him and ensuring that no other mother will have to suffer the murder of her son at any establishment on Broadway.”