Sacto 9-1-1
August 6, 2012
Ask Sacto 911 crime Q&A: What happened to man who fled to France after killing girlfriend, abandoning child

Bee reporters answer questions about area crime news, trends and other issues.

QUESTION: Sometime between 1995 and 1999, I believe, there was an older man in Folsom that shot his wife multiple times. This man was in his 50s and she in her 20s. I remember reading that they had a 2-year-old son and when the father tried to flee to France, he could not get his 2-year-old son on the plane due to the son not having a passport. What ever came of this man after they extradited him back to Sacramento from France to stand trial?
Submitted by: Katrina, Orangevale

ANSWER: James Dewayne Nivette pleaded guilty in August 2003 to the second-degree murder of his former girlfriend and was sentenced to 18 years to life in prison.

Now 69 years old, he is incarcerated at the California Men's Colony in San Luis Obispo.

According to accounts in The Bee, Nivette pleaded guilty to the Nov. 16, 1997 slaying of Gina Barnett, 25, who was shot more than a dozen times in what police said was a rage killing. She was found dead in the Folsom condominium she once shared with Nivette, a former San Juan Unified School District researcher.

He is accused of taking the couple's 18-month-old son to San Francisco International Airport and abandoning him in an nearby industrial park before boarding at plane to France. The boy was found unharmed and was living with his mother's relatives at the time of Nivette's sentencing.

Nivette's four-year extradition fight ended in July 2001 when he was sent back to the United States to stand trial..

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