MURRIETA – A pair of convicted felons accused of abducting and threatening to kill two Hemet residents, who managed to get help by getting the attention of a passing police officer, pleaded not guilty today to felony charges that could lead to life imprisonment.
John Jason Blackwood, 34, and Adam Eugene Barnett, 33, both face charges of kidnapping, carjacking, making criminal threats, robbery and illegal possession of a firearm in connection with the alleged Jan. 4 abduction in Hemet.
The defendants appeared with their attorneys before Riverside County Superior Court Judge Elaine Johnson, who set a Feb. 8 felony conference date.
She left bail for both men at $1.1 million. They’re being held at the Southwest Detention Center in Murrieta.
On the night of Jan. 4, Barnett and Blackwood allegedly carjacked two men with whom they were acquainted in the 100 block of Stetson Avenue and ordered the victims to drive home.
The defendants told the victims that they were going to rob and kill them, Hemet police Lt. Eric Dickson alleged.
He said the victims drove a short distance and spotted a patrol unit coming from the opposite direction, at which point the driver turned his vehicle toward the police car, nearly ramming it.
The officer was forced to stop, and the victims jumped out of their car, running toward him, while the defendants took off on foot, Dickson said.
After the officer got the victims’ story and discovered two handguns in the vehicle where the suspects had been sitting, he summoned help, according to the lieutenant.
A K-9 team tracked down one of the alleged carjackers, while the other was apprehended by a patrol officer, Dickson said.
According to court records, Barnett has a prior felony conviction for assault with a deadly weapon. Blackwood has multiple convictions, mainly for illegal drug possession. He was on probation for a 2010 drug-related conviction at the time of his arrest, records showed.