Donald V. Watkins
Jason Stephen Barksdale: A Witness or Accomplice?
By Donald V. Watkins ©Copyrighted and Published on June 24, 2018
Jason Stephen Barksdale will be 40 years old on September 11, 2018. He graduated from Holt High School. Jason has no college education. He recently quit his job as a “quality control” employee at the Mercedes Benz plant in Vance, Alabama and is now supporting himself by cutting grass.
Jason’s ex wife, Johanna, divorced him after she caught him cheating with other women. Johanna is a successful real estate agent in Tuscaloosa who comes from a very respected family. Johanna and Jason are the parents of a beautiful daughter named Julianna, who will be 5-years-old on July 2, 2018.
According to his friends, Jason missed Julianna’s second birthday party because he was partying at the beach. He attended Julianna’s third birthday party, but was distraught after he was arrested on May 28, 2016 at 2:34 in the morning in Orange Beach, Alabama for DUI after a night of drinking at the legendary Flora-Bama Lounge/Restaurant. Jason had a female passenger with him at the time of his DUI arrest who had to be sent home in a taxi.
Jason’s friends say he missed Julianna’s fourth birthday party. The event was held two days after a June 22, 2017 BuzzFeed News article thrust him into the national spotlight as the man who was with 37-year-old Terry Jackson “Sweet T” Bunn, Jr., when 20-year-old University of Alabama honors student Megan Rondini accused Sweet T of raping her at his Cottondale home during the early morning hours of July 2, 2015.
Sweet T and Jason spotted Megan Rondini socializing with a group of her friends at Innisfree Irish Pub in Tuscaloosa on the night of July 1, 2015. Sweet T and Jason left the pub when Megan exited the premises and proceeded to walk home. The men offered Megan a ride home to her apartment. She was familiar with Sweet T and accepted the ride home.
Megan invited Sweet T and Jason into her apartment for a drink. A video inside her apartment building shows Megan leading Sweet T and Jason down a hallway and into her apartment. Megan was not staggering in her walk or exhibiting any difficulty in her mobility.
Megan did not remember much about how she got to Sweet T’s house after the three of them left her apartment. She remembered the unwarranted sexual encounter with Sweet T and her escape from his second floor bedroom. She reported the sexual encounter as a rape. Sweet T said it was a consensual one-night stand. Jason claimed he was asleep in another part of the house.
Tuscaloosa County Sheriff’s investigators never fully explored Jason Barksdale role on the night in question. Under orders from Sheriff Ron Abernathy to “script” Megan’s rape case, the investigators assigned to Megan Rondini’s rape case worked hard to undermine her allegations against Sweet T and to downgrade the reported rape charge to a “Special Inquiry”. Sheriff Abernathy and local law enforcement officials were well aware of Sweet T and his “street” reputation as a “dirt bag” who regularly trolled Tuscaloosa’s local bars and clubs in search of young women for sexual conquests. In fact, Abernathy had previously intervened on behalf of Sweet T in another reported rape case.
Jason is Sweet T’s best friend and trusted confidant. Sweet T was the “best man” at Jason’s 2012 wedding to Johanna.
Jason is an alcoholic. It is a problem that has plagued him for most of his adult life.
Sweet T and Jason share a common passion – they love partying with young women, getting them high on alcohol and/or drugs, and having sex with them while they are inebriated or incapacitated.
Jason is also a sex addict. Jason constantly engages in sexting that consists of sending lewd messages and photos of his erect penis to his sexual prey.
Jason relishes his friendship with Sweet T because it provides him with derivative access to the perks and privileges that flow from his association with one of Alabama’s richest and most influential families – the Terry Jackson Bunn, Sr., family. The Bunn family is a member of the oligarchy that runs Alabama.
Two events have returned Jason Barksdale to the spotlight. Both are deeply troubling.
Did Barksdale Supply the “Date Rape” Drug Sweet T Used on Megan Rondini?
GHB, or Gamma Hydroxybutyrate, is a central nervous system depressant that is commonly referred to as a “date rape” drug. GHBis illegal in Alabama. Sweet T and Jason were known users of GHB on their sexual prey. GHB is often added to a victim's drink without her knowledge.
When a drink is spiked with GHB and unknowingly consumed by the date rape victim, she will usually experience unexpected change in her mood or sensory perception such as feeling happy, groggy and sleepy, or generally disorientated on all counts. She may not be able to remember everything that happened to her before or after ingesting the drug.
Megan Rondini’s hospital records and police report provide a host of clues that she was the victim of an unobtrusively administered dose of GHB. She had no recollection of going back to her apartment that night with Sweet T and Jason. Her recollection of going to Sweet T’s house was fuzzy, as well.
Megan indicated to the investigators that she had gaps in memory about how she left the pub and how she ended up in Sweet T’s car. The investigators failed to ask Megan questions to determine what she did and did not remember, and did not try to pinpoint any time in the evening when someone might have unobtrusively administered GHB to her.
Furthermore, Sheriff’s investigators never tested her urine sample to determine from a forensics standpoint whether Sweet T or Jason spiked Megan’s drink at the apartment.
Investigators and prosecutors closed the case after claiming that Megan did not resist Sweet’s sexual advances on the night in question. With that, Sweet T was a free man. After Sweet T escaped criminal justice with the direct intervention and assistance of Sheriff Ron Abernathy, Megan Rondini committed suicide.
Last week, I watched a short video clip of Megan leading Sweet T and Jason down the hall and into her apartment. I watched this video over and over again. Then I noticed something I had missed before. When Sweet T realized that Megan was going to let Jason and him enter into her apartment, Sweet T clasped his hands three times in celebration. Jason then reached into his pocket for something that he tried to discreetly hand to Sweet T. At that point, Sweet T turned to Jason and gestured for him to hold up for a moment.
In his police interview, Sweet T acknowledged that he and Jason had drinks at Megan’s apartment. He was unsure whether Megan had a drink. Oddly, there were no glasses on the kitchen counter when Megan returned home from her police interview during the early morning hours of July 2, 2015. This interview occurred (a) after Megan escaped from Sweet T’s home with the help of friends, (b) after she had immediately traveled from Sweet T's home to a local hospital for a rape kit exam, and (c) after she was taken from the hospital to the Sheriff’s Department to file a rape report.
Did Barksdale Engage in Inappropriate Behavior With His Daughter?
Jason Stephen Barksdale is a material witness in the Megan Rondini rape case. He is an alcoholic, a known sexual predator, and self-professed sex addict. He has been known to supply Sweet T with GHB on multiple occasions.
Barksdale sends images of his penis to women in a juvenile effort to impress them. He was a serial cheater while he was married to Johanna. In 2016, Jason was busted for DUI and pled guilty to the charge.
By all objective measures, Jason Barksdale is a danger to himself and to others in his presence.
On December 11, 2014, Johanna divorced Jason Barksdale. She apparently had enough of his marital cheating and juvenile antics.
The couple’s divorce decree required Jason to have Julianna at the home of his parents by 8 p.m. during his child visitations. Overnight visitations were ordered to occur at the home of Julianna’s paternal grand parents.
In April 2018, Julianna was returned to Johanna following a visitation with Jason. Julianna told Johanna that she had spent the night at Jason’s home, and not the home of her paternal grandparents. Julianna also told Johanna that she had bathed with Jason during this unauthorized overnight visitation at Jason’s home.
In early May of 2018, Johanna filed a court petition to hold Jason in contempt for his unauthorized conduct. The petition referenced the bathing incident in several paragraphs.
On May 7th, Jason filed an answer to the petition in which he denied bathing with Julianna. In denying this allegation, Jason effectively claimed that Julianna was lying on him.
Independent evidence uncovered during the course of my investigation indicates that Julianna was telling the truth about the bathing incident with Jason.
Tuscaloosa County Circuit Judge Philip N. Lisenby appointed Attorney Debra Sutton as a Guardian Ad Litem to represent the legal interests of Julianna in this matter.
Johanna’s contempt of court case against Jason is pending. Courthouse insiders are extremely concerned about this case because (a) Julianna is an innocent young girl whose father has exhibited a reckless disregard for his own life, as well as the lives of females in his company and (b) Jason is connected to Sweet T, whose family has a history of using its political clout to compromise the civil and criminal justice system in Tuscaloosa on multiple occasions. Courthouse insiders do not want a failure of justice in this case.
We will monitor this case closely to ensure that the Guardian Ad Litem represents Julianna’s interests in a full and competent manner. We will also monitor the trial proceedings to ensure that justice is administered in a fair and impartial manner in this case. Jason Stephen Barksdale’s history of alcoholism, sexual addiction, association with Sweet T, and juvenile sexting demands nothing less.
VIDEO: Megan Rondini, Terry Jackson "Sweet T" Bunn, Jr., and Jason Barksdale inside her apartment building during the early morning hours of July 2, 2015.
PHOTO: Jason Barksdale is Terry Jackson "Sweet T" Bunn, Jr.'s best friend, drinking buddy, and confidant.