A man in Australia was found guilty of murdering his housemate following a violent dispute triggered by a poor internet connection.
The jury took less than three hours to decide the fate of 39-year-old Nikola Milosevic this week, after hearing that he used a baseball bat, bicycle and wheelie bin to bash 52-year-old Danny Barber to death at their share house in Adelaide, South Australia in 2019.
Three other men who lived at the house told authorities that Milosevic and Barber were involved in a long-running feud over the household internet—and according to prosecutor Carmen Matteo, "when the internet would cut out … Barber would come into the house yelling and blaming [Milosevic] for that.”
Barber was allegedly blustering about internet problems on the night of the incident, and the jury heard that he pulled the power cable from the modem, smashed Milosevic’s bedroom window and pinned a handwritten note to his door with a knife. Milosevic was out at the time, but shortly after returning home he reportedly walked out of his room with a baseball bat, into the backyard where Barber was, and struck him to the ground.
Milosevic later admitted to hitting Barber up to 15 times with the bat—as well as throwing a bicycle on top of him—although prosecutors claim the victim was struck more than 30 times during an attack that happened over several hours. One of the other housemates told police Milosevic also picked up a wheelie bin and brought it down on Barber’s head.
Milosevic then called emergency services, claiming he had "just got home and... didn't know what happened but it looked like someone had beaten his housemate up and he was in a bad way,” according to Matteo. Barber was pronounced dead hours later.
Milosevic, for his part, told the jury he was acting in self-defence and "didn't mean to kill [Barber] at all". He claimed to have taken methamphetamine and cannabis on the day of the incident, and said he returned home to find a note knifed to his bedroom door threatening to put an axe through his head.
"I took the note with me and I went to Danny's room to explain that I wasn't home and that it's not my fault," Milosevic said. "There were many problems with [the] internet—we had a bad connection because it was wireless … I think he was blaming me all the time for it.”
Milosevic claimed Barber grabbed a knife and tried to stab him in the neck, forcing him to hide in a housemate’s cupboard before locking himself inside once Barber was in the backyard. He said he then heard smashing glass, grabbed a baseball bat and went to the backyard to find Barber destroying his car windows.
Milosevic admitted to Barber's manslaughter, but pleaded not guilty to his murder. He will be sentenced at a later date.
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