Man killed his girlfriend, left her body on balcony until he was evicted: police

The Ohio woman had been missing since July 30. Her body was found by a housecleaner.

CLEVELAND, Ohio — A man is accused of killing his 18-year-old girlfriend and leaving her body on the balcony of his apartment for months until he moved away and a housecleaner uncovered her body, according to police and court records.

Bennie Washington, 39, is charged with aggravated murder and gross abuse of a corpse in the fatal shooting of Audreona Barnes, who was reported missing on July 30.

Barnes’ body was found Thursday on the balcony of Washington’s former apartment on Warner Road near Laumar Avenue in the city’s Broadway-Slavic Village neighborhood.

The housecleaner called police after finding Barnes’ body under a pile of clothes and blankets on the balcony of the top floor, according to police. Investigators wrote that it appeared the body had been purposefully put outside in order to hasten decomposition.

An autopsy showed someone shot Barnes in the head, court records say. Officers found bullet casings near her body and a bullet hole in the inside wall of the apartment.

Washington had been evicted from the apartment on March 11, according to police.

Court records say people called police about his “erratic behavior in public” in the weeks leading up to his arrest. On Friday, officers spotted Washington and ran after him. He ran into someone’s home and jumped out a window, eluding the officers, according to court records. Officers arrested him the next day and filed charges against him Monday.

Barnes was reported missing on July 30. She had visited a U.S. Army recruiting officer the day she went missing, according to police.

She was last seen at a gas station at the intersection near Washington’s home. She spoke to a family member the same day about 2:30 p.m.

Cleveland and Warrensville Heights police had searched for her since.

Washington has several prior felony convictions, including a 2010 case in which he shot and wounded a woman in the back over a $40 cocaine debt. He was sentenced to seven years in prison.

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