Man pleads guilty in pregnant girlfriend's killing

Thursday, August 21st 2008, 12:22 pm
By: News 9

By Amy Lester, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Eric Phan, 21, pleaded guilty Thursday afternoon to two counts of first-degree murder in the death of Lauren Barnes and her unborn child.

In court, Phan confessed to having strangled Lauren Barns to death after an argument.

Barns' family members said they have more questions about what happened that night.

Barnes' mother was joined with family and friends as they packed the courtroom on both sides. Phan never looked at them.

"I still have a lot of anger, a lot of anger," Barn's mother said. "I knew he did it so I was just waiting for him to admit it."

Phan admited to meeting Barnes at a park in Bethany, arguing with her and then strangling her. According to court documents, the last thing she said was that she would get an abortion.

Barnes's mother said the admission won't fill the void left after her daughter's death.

"Satisfied, no, no, but I don't think I ever will be," Barns' mother said. "I don't have my daughter or my granddaughter."

Phan's lawyer said Phan is remorseful.

"He's been remorseful about this from the very start," Phan's lawyer Al Hoch said. "He's wanted to keep his family and Lauren's family from wanting to deal with this any further."

Barns, Phan's girlfriend, was five months pregnant when police found her body buried near a park in northwest Oklahoma City, last November. Phan is the alleged father of the child.

"I think it's one of those deals where somebody just reacts on an impulse," Hoch said. "He panicked and buried her."

Barnes's family hopes more details will come out when the judge sentences Phan October 17.

Phan's lawyer said he'll likely apologize to the family then.