Shearstown robber sentenced to five-and-a-half years

Published on August 14, 2014
Barry Austin Morningstar in May 2014, after being apprehended by police for an armed robbery.
Photo by Melissa Jenkins

A 21-year-old man originally from Niagara Falls has been sentenced to over five years in jail for his involvement in an armed robbery in Shearstown and instigating a riot at Her Majesty’s Penitentiary (HMP) in St. John’s.

Barry Austin Morningstar attended a St. John’s court Wednesday, Aug. 13, for sentencing after pleading guilty to numerous charges, including possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose and unauthorized possession of a firearm.

On April 22, Morningstar was at a residence in the Conception Bay North community, when he loaded a sawed off shotgun. He proceeded to point the gun at the face of a casual acquaintance and demanded cash.

When the victim refused, Morningstar, who was residing in St. John’s at that time, began assaulting him with a set of brass knuckles. Brass knuckles are a prohibited device in Canada. He also choked the victim during the assault.

Morningstar stopped when another person took money from the victim’s pocket and handed it over. At that time, the victim was able to flee the residence.

A warrant was issued for Morningstar’s arrest April 29.

After a weeklong manhunt, he was arrested at a home in St. John’s.

The second incident stems from a riot that took place at HMP June 3, which was instigated by Morningstar.

Morningstar threw a mop bucket at a guardroom window, and threatened another inmate. This led to a riot, where 11 others were also charged. Over $100,000 in damage was done during that incident.

That was not the first incident of aggression by Morningstar while in custody.

On May 9, he had a violent outburst in the Harbour Grace courthouse. The top of his head was split open after hitting himself repeatedly in the head with his own handcuffs.

Morningstar has received a sentence of over five and a half years in jail. He has been given credit for time served, and has five years and five months remaining on his sentence.