A Baltimore man is charged with murder, accused of killing Jamal Barney, a former basketball standout at Loyola University Maryland and Southwestern High School.

On Oct. 2, police found Barney’s body on the second floor of a vacant rowhome in the 500 block of North Payson Street, according to court documents.

Barney, 37, had been reported missing for over a week when officers found him. Police arrested Dayrel McFarland, who lived next to the home Barney was found in, on an outstanding warrant in a different case, a day after finding Barney’s body.

McFarland, 27, told detectives in an Oct. 3 interview he and Barney were roommates but denied killing the former basketball star, according to court records. One of Barney’s family members told The Banner he and McFarland were not roommates.

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Not long before police found Barney’s body, his family had started receiving messages from unknown people stating that someone known as “Little D” hit Barney in the head with a cinder block and hid him in the vacant house on North Payson. The medical examiner’s office listed Barney’s cause of death as “blunt force trauma to the head.”

Police found two cinder blocks and a concrete paver in the vacant home with blood on them. Detectives got a warrant for McFarland’s DNA to compare it to a sample from one of the cinder blocks, according to court records. The results came back Jan. 30 and showed two possible contributors, one of whom was most likely McFarland. Police arrested McFarland again.

“A match between Dayrel McFarland and the inferred genotype [sample] is 51.3 billion times more probable than a coincidental match to an unrelated individual in the population,” a detective wrote in McFarland’s charging papers.

McFarland was served with the arrest warrant in early February and ordered held without bail. He does not have an attorney listed in online court records.

Barney was a high-flying guard who led the Loyola Greyhounds in scoring two seasons. He averaged 18 points a game his sophomore season, leading all scorers in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.

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“He was a great scorer, one of the best natural scorers I’ve ever coached,” former Loyola coach Jimmy Patsos said. “He could score all kind of ways.”

A product of Southwestern High School, Barney could have played at a better school before college, Patsos said, but chose not to because his home was important to him.

“He was loyal to his neighborhood school; he was loyal to West Baltimore,” Patsos said.

Originally committed to play at Providence College, Barney transferred home to Loyola after the birth of his daughter, Patsos said. He made the move after the 2006-07 season.

“He could score 40 points one night, but he didn’t want to talk basketball all the time,” Patsos said.

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The coach described his former player as a “very sharp guy” and said he was proud to get his degree. For Barney’s life to end the way it did, Patsos said, was tragic.

“He was a really good soul,” he said.

Lee O. Sanderlin is an Enterprise Reporter for The Baltimore Banner. Before joining The Banner, he worked at The Baltimore Sun as a reporter covering a wide array of topics, including stories about abusive politicians, sexual abuse, gun violence and legislative issues.

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