Gunman’s friend says Wolfe behind murder

MANASSAS — Jurors, who will determine whether Justin Michael Wolfe hired friend Owen Merton Barber IV to kill Wolfe’s marijuana supplier, heard Tuesday from friend Robert Holmes Martin Jr., who testified that “it was obvious” Wolfe was behind the shooting.

Barber’s ex-girlfriend, Jennifer Elaine Pasquariello, also testified in Prince William Circuit Court on Tuesday, saying Wolfe acted suspicious after the March 15 death of Daniel Robert Petrole Jr., and was upset after he learned federal marshals had confiscated a letter she and Barber wrote requesting money from Wolfe.

Wolfe, 20, a drug dealer from Centreville, could face the death penalty if convicted of capital murder; he also is charged with conspiracy to distribute more than 5 pounds of marijuana.

Prince William County prosecutors allege Wolfe hired longtime associate Barber, 21, to kill Petrole, also 21, so Wolfe could avoid paying Petrole $66,325 in drug debt. Petrole regularly fronted Wolfe with high-grade marijuana that Wolfe then sold for profit before fully paying Petrole, according to evidence in the trial.

Wolfe has pleaded not guilty the charges.

The testimony from Pasquariello and Martin, 21, came on the fifth day of the trial, one day after Barber testified that Wolfe hired him with marijuana and a promise of $10,000 to kill Petrole outside Petrole’s town house in the Bristow area of western Prince William County.

Martin, who attended Chantilly High School with Wolfe and Barber, bought and sold marijuana from both of them in school.

Martin and Barber had dinner with Martin’s parents on the day of the shooting last year, then smoked marijuana and drank at Barber’s apartment, Martin testified.

Barber got a phone call from Wolfe, and Barber and Martin went to meet him at a restaurant, Martin testified. Once there, Wolfe and Barber spoke privately while Martin waited in the car.

Barber later told Martin, “We might have to do something later,” Martin testified.

“I asked him what, and he said, ‘You might have to drive somewhere for me.'”

Back at Barber’s apartment, Martin said, he questioned Barber, who showed Martin his 9 mm semiautomatic handgun.

“I said, ‘What are you going to do with that? I’m not driving,'” Martin testified Tuesday. “And he said, ‘I’m going to put one in each kneecap.'”

Martin said he thought Barber might be planning a robbery.

“I could never believe any of my friends would go and kill anybody,” Martin said. “I thought he was just going to rob somebody or pick up a debt; I wasn’t sure.”

Barber asked Martin if he could drive his red Ford Escort instead of Barber’s Honda Civic with its loud exhaust and tinted windows. Wolfe then called Barber, and Martin let Barber take the car, Martin testified.

The phone call, Barber testified Monday, was Wolfe alerting Barber that Petrole had left the apartment of Wolfe’s girlfriend after giving Wolfe high-grade marijuana. Barber testified he was to follow and kill Petrole, which he did.

When Barber and Martin later met up at Barber’s apartment, Barber told Martin he killed someone.

Martin said he was shocked, and asked Barber questions about the shooting as the two drove to Bridges bar in Fairfax to meet Wolfe and their friends. Martin testified that Barber didn’t know the person he shot.

When they got in the bar, after midnight, Barber said he needed to have a private discussion with Wolfe, Martin testified.

“It was obvious that Justin called [Barber] from the house to go follow [Petrole],” Martin testified.

When Martin tried to join Wolfe and Barber at a table in the back of the bar, they told him to go away.

Martin approached later, and said Wolfe told him: “You can’t say nothing about this. I’m going to make a lot of money.”

Martin said he proposed a toast “to whatever they had done.”

The next day, Martin testified, Wolfe promised him a discounted price on some high-grade marijuana, and told him to forget about a past debt.

Prince William police searched Barber’s apartment with a warrant on March 17. Barber fled to Florida, then took a train to San Diego.

Barber contacted his former girlfriend, Pasquariello, who drove to San Diego to bring him money.

Pasquariello, who dated Barber from 1995 until early last year and also was a close friend of Wolfe’s, testified in court Tuesday that Wolfe told her after the shooting that she didn’t have to talk to police.

Wolfe gave her $1,000 on March 28 and told her not to tell anyone — even him — where Barber was, Pasquariello testified.

Wolfe said he could give her $5,000 more the next day, but rather than wait she left for California, she said, where Barber told her the details of the shooting.

The two hoped to go to Mexico, but had only $700, she said.

While in California, Pasquariello said, she went to a taping of Comedy Central’s “The Man Show,” where she asked to be an honorary “Juggy.”

Barber and Pasquariello decided to write a letter to the Florida friend Wolfe was staying with to request money, Pasquariello said.

In the letter, Pasquariello wrote: “We need money bad,” and asked Wolfe’s friend to get Wolfe the message.

“He said this would be the way to do this, and not on hot phones,” the letter stated. “J.W. knows how important this is.”

The letter was taken by federal marshals when they arrested Barber at his San Diego hotel room. Barber was surfing on the beach when marshals located him.

After Barber’s arrest, Pasquariello flew back to Northern Virginia on April 8.

She testified she met with Wolfe that day.

Pasquariello said she told him: “I know. But don’t worry. I won’t tell anybody.”

She said Wolfe didn’t reply. “He just looked concerned.”

She told Wolfe authorities had found the letter.

“He said, ‘Do I want to know what’s in it?'” she testified, to which she said she replied: “It’s pretty bad.”

“S—,” was Wolfe’s response, Pasquariello said.

Pasquariello said she later decided to tell police the truth after Barber told her that he had told police what he knew.

In exchange for a promise of truthful testimony, prosecutors dropped a misdemeanor charge against Pasquariello of assisting Barber after the murder. She said she now meets with him at the Prince William-Manassas regional jail weekly and talks to him on the phone each day.

Prosecutors rested their case Tuesday, and Wolfe’s defense began calling witnesses. The defense will continue calling witnesses when the trial resumes today at 9 a.m.