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Monday, June 9, 2008

[OH] The police lt. who had his wife Vicki Barton killed can't have a new trial


Former Springboro cop loses appeal in wife-killing
9 Jun 2008
A former Springboro police lieutenant serving 15 to 50 years in prison for plotting the slaying of his wife lost his latest request for a new trial on Monday. Jim Barton, who worked as second in command at the Springboro police department, had twice asked for his conviction to be thrown out because his defense lawyer didn't contest the use of hypnosis on a witness for the prosecution. Both times, the Ohio 12th District Court of Appeals in Middletown rejected his arguments. In February 2005, Barton was convicted by a jury of one count of complicity to involuntary manslaughter and two counts of complicity to aggravated burglary. The charges stemmed from allegations that Barton hired two men to stage a burglary at his Franklin Township farm in April 1995. Prosecutors alleged Barton wanted to scare his wife, Vicki, into moving. Barton, they said, wanted to move to Springboro so he could one day become police chief. During the burglary, Vicki Barton was shot and killed. Barton continues to serve the sentence imposed in 2005 of 5 to 25 years for manslaughter and 10 to 25 years for burglary, which are being served consecutively.

* Cop Talk Falls Short In This Case, Dayton Daily News, Mary McCarty, April 14, 2004


  1. AnonymousJune 16, 2008


    Jan 25, 2004 - Vickie Barton: Cop's Wife Fought Killer 1/24/04
    ...Vickie Barton died after a fierce struggle April 11, 1995, with gunshot wounds to the head and neck, assaults to her sexual organs and remnants of someone's body tissue under her nails, her autopsy showed. These details and revelations of detectives who revived the unsolved case last year shed new light on the former Sycamore Hospital nurse's death and why authorities suspect her husband, Springboro Police Lt. Jim Barton, was involved...

    Feb 5, 2004 - Lt. Barton whose wife was slain retires as cold case reopens
    Police Lt. Jim Barton, a subject in the renewed investigation into his wife's 1995 shooting death, announced his retirement today after 25 years on the job... Barton's announcement comes two weeks after Kruithoff placed him on paid administrative leave following a report from the Warren County Cold Case Team...

    Mar 8, 2004 - Cold case heats up in cop's wifes death
    ...Investigators now have proof that William Lee "Will" Phelps, a 28-year-old Middletown man who committed suicide four months after Vickie Barton was killed, was at the crime scene the day she was slain, Newsom said. Phelps' body was exhumed in 1998 as part of the investigation, but DNA tests excluded him from evidence found on Vickie Barton's body, Newsom said. Asked whether Phelps' suicide was related to the crime, Newsom said investigators gathered information indicating that Phelps was "a sensitive young man who couldn't handle the aftermath" of what had happened...

    Apr 11, 2004 - "Retired" Lt.. Barton says he's not guilty of wife Vickie's death
    ...In January of this year Barton was suspended from the Springboro Police Department and then a month later he resigned from the police force. Barton is facing five charges. The most serious are two counts of complicity to involuntary manslaughter...

    Apr 12, 2004 - Was Lt. Barton trying to FLEE? No no no.
    ...Authorities arrested Barton, rather than allowing him to surrender, after investigators spotted him with a packed car and boat Friday, Warren County Prosecutor Rachel Hutzel said. "We think he was possibly packing up"...

    Apr 13, 2004 - Ex Lt Barton's new wife says he's innocent
    ...Just after arranging with a bondsman to post the lower bond, Elaine Barton said she is convinced of her husband's innocence. She did not know him at the time of Vickie Barton's death. "We'll prove that Jim had absolutely nothing, nothing, to do with this crime," she declared. "He spent 26 years of his life fighting crime. There is no way that he would participate in a crime. No way"...

    May 21, 2004 - Prosecutors: Police Lt. Barton had burglars kill his wife Vickie
    ...Starting in December 1994, former Springboro police Lt. James Barton also provided burglar William Phelps "two loaded firearms and instructed him to shoot the guns over the head of his wife, Vickie Barton"... Barton told the Dayton Daily News he mounted his own investigation, urged local authorities and solicited help from state and federal investigators in hopes of finding those responsible for killing his wife. "I have absolutely no involvement in this crime whatsoever," he said. He also denied knowing Phelps, although in a 911 call from the crime scene he said, "Oh, man. I got to call Phelp, man," according to police. Phelps killed himself four months after Vickie Barton was found dead, police said...

    May 21, 2004 - Prosecutors: Police Lt. Barton had burglars kill his wife Vicki

    Aug 13, 2004 - Latest on case of who killed Lt's wife Vickie Barton
    ...Barton's attorneys are trying to get a 911 call and details about fingerprints found at the scene thrown out because of contradictory claims about them... They allege officers made false statements in search-warrant affidavits and argue that any resulting evidence should be excluded...

    Feb 9, 2005 - Trial starts for murder of Police Lt. wife, Vickie Barton
    ...Former Springboro police Lt. Jim Barton sunk in his chair and wiped tears from his eyes Tuesday as his lawyer noted the second day of his criminal trial also marked the 25th anniversary of his first marriage, to the woman whose death he is accused of causing...

    Feb 9, 2005 - Background on the murder of Vickie Barton

    Feb 9, 2005 - Officer Barber at Barton trial
    ...A former police officer who shared lunch with Vickie and Jim Barton on April 11, 1995, before she was shot to death, testified Wednesday that he suspected he was set up when he was invited to join the couple for a meal at a Springboro park."My first instinct was I've been used somehow," Tom Barber said during Jim Barton's trial on charges he paid those responsible for killing his wife...

    Feb 11, 2005 - Murder-of-Vickie trial - Lt. Barton skewing lie detector test
    ...A polygraph examiner with Cincinnati police, said Barton began breathing more deeply, a common technique for skewing results, once he was connected to the polygraph equipment...

    Feb 18, 2005 - Lt. Barton found GUILTY in wife Vickie's murder
    ...Barton has maintained his innocence throughout the entire investigation and trial. Defense attorneys said that Barton and his wife were happily married and that Barton had nothing to do with his wife's murder...

    Feb 21, 2005 - Barton's charge looks more like a defense
    ...Prosecutors said Barton hired a man by the name of Will Phelps to burglarize the home. Investigators said Barton thought the burglary would scare his wife and she would move to Springboro, where he reportedly wanted to become police chief. Authorities said five months after Vickie's death, Phelps killed himself. According to investigators, Phelps and an unknown person sexually assaulted Vickie Barton and then killed her...

    Mar 15, 2005 - Ex-Lt. Barton working on retrial in Vickie's slaying
    ...Barton's complicity conviction, his sentencing has been delayed while a judge determines whether to order a retrial because of new testimony from three inmates who claim a key prosecution witness - another inmate - lied about Barton's involvement...

    Mar 18, 2005 - Lt. Barton gets 15-50 for involvement in wife's death
    ...Prosecutors said Barton refuses to accept responsibility. Barton's current wife, Elaine, asked the judge to overlook the jury's guilty verdict because she said he is not responsible Vickie's death. Vickie's mother, Mary Jane Siebert even asked the judge to not take him away from her...

    Oct 28, 2005 - 48Hours Program on Murder of Cop Lt.'s Wife Vicki Barton
    ...Henson claimed that Jim, the career police officer, was responsible for his wife’s murder because Jim had sent Phelps to the house to scare Vickie in hopes of driving her to live in town where Jim supposedly needed to live to become police chief....

    Oct 31, 2005 - Convicted Police Lt. Barton defended by his mother-in-law
    ...BARTON WAS MARRIED BRIEFLY TO VICKIE BARTON’S BEST FRIEND — not long after her death. Siebert said that marriage was a “rebound thing and a mistake.”... Barton says he passes his time reading and watching football on the television in his cell. Barton was also interviewed by 48 Hours...

    Aug 16 2006 - Latest chapter in slaying of Lt. Barton's wife, Vicki
    ...Lawyers for a former Springboro police officer presented oral arguments before the state's 12th District Court of Appeals Tuesday claiming that a key witness was hypnotized before testifying against Thomas "Jim'' Barton -- once the No. 2 commander in the Springboro Police Department...

    Mar 26, 2007 - Jailed for wife Vicki's death, ex-Lt. Barton appealing
    ...A former Springboro police lieutenant convicted of staging a botched burglary that ended in the rape and slaying of his wife will appeal his case to the Ohio Supreme Court...

    1.) Cop Talk Falls Short In This Case, Dayton Daily News, Mary McCarty, April 14, 2004

  2. AnonymousJune 16, 2008

    Nurse's husband, Waynesville cop placed on leave
    Dayton Daily News (OH)
    Anthony J. Gottschlich agottschlich@DaytonDailyNews.com
    January 25, 2004

    The night before an intruder savagely beat and fatally shot Vickie Barton nearly nine years ago, Barton sat next to the hospital bed of a dying elderly woman and comforted her patient.

    As a nurse supervisor at Sycamore Hospital in Miamisburg and an instructor at the Kettering College of Medical Arts, Barton had become accustomed to facing death. It was part of the job.

    "She was an exemplary nurse," said former Sycamore worker Debby Dunham. "She went beyond the patients and the family and the staff, she was there and open for everybody."

    In the hours before her death, say those who knew her, Vickie Barton looked forward to new life.

    A trainer and keeper of show horses, Barton 's mare was expecting to foal at any time. She also talked excitedly about an upcoming horse show.

    The Dayton Daily News reviewed police accounts, news archives and interviewed police and coworkers of Vickie Barton for this story.

    The events leading to her death arm day with temperatures in the 70s.

    The couple met in Springboro 's North Park, where they were joined by Jim Barton 's friend, Tom Barber, a former Springboro police officer. They ate submarine sandwiches, Jim Barton later said.

    He said his wife mentioned how something unusual had happened earlier: She'd helped a motorist who stopped by the couple's Franklin Twp. farmhouse and said he was out of gas.

    After lunch, Vickie Barton was seen getting into her GMC Jimmy and headed for Locust Knoll Farm, the couples secluded property near Interstate 75 in northern Warren County. Jim Barton reported back to work by 2:15.

    Then life took a horrifying turn for Vickie Barton . The 5-foot four-inch, medium-built brunette faced death again.

    But this time it was exceedingly evil and ferocious, leaving her beaten, sexually assaulted and shot in the head and neck.

    The only child of Arthur and Mary Jane Siebert of Middletown, Vickie Barton died at approximately 3 p.m., according to an autopsy report. She had no children.
    Jim Barton 's 911 call

    Jim Barton 's shift ended at 3:30 p.m., and he left the police station about 4 p.m. after chatting with Springboro Police Chief Robin Hochstrasser, who had spotted Barton and his wife in the park earlier. Barton stopped at a dry cleaners to pick up a police uniform and bought gasoline on his way home, he later told investigators.

    He found his wife's partially nude body in their bed. He called the 911 emergency telephone number at 4:33 p.m.

    Dispatch: "911, what is your emergency?

    Barton , in an anxious but fairly steady voice: "There's a murd . . . My wife has just been killed, I think . . .

    "I just got home. . . . All I know is my wife's on the bed, the pillow's over her face. I think she's been shot, I don't know, but my dogs are running loose. I cannot get any, any response, but she's cold. Somebody get here quick, but I think she's . . . I don't know if somebody's committed mur . . . all my guns are laying out in here in the house and everything."

    Dispatch: "Stay on the line with me."

    Barton : "I got to make sure there's nobody in this house."

    Dispatcher: "Hang on . . ." (dispatches crews to scene)

    Barton : (15 seconds later) "Get me an emergency squad. Quick."

    Dispatcher says to emergency crews, "He thinks she's dead, possibly shot," then to Barton , "Do you know if somebody shot her, er? . . ."

    Barton : "I don't . . . All I know is she's laying on the bed with a pillow over her head and there's blood and she's cold. All my guns are laying out in the house on the floor, like somebody's been through my house."

    Dispatch: ``Is there a gun by her?"

    Barton : "I can't . . . Sir, I ran right out in another room and grabbed the phone, I don't know."

    Throughout the nine-minute 911 call, Barton is concerned about checking for intruders.

    Dispatch: "Go check if she's breathing or not."

    Barton : "She's not breathing, sir. She's cold. There was a pillow over her head and she's not breathing and she's got her clothes off, I don't know what's going on. But get me, get me some help out here quick.

    Dispatch: "Go see if she's breathing or not and see where she's been shot at."

    Twenty-two seconds later: "Are you there?"

    Barton : "Yes . . . I don't know if somebody's still in the house."

    Barton calls to his dogs, then to dispatcher, "She's not breathing. She's been gone awhile . . . Get me some help out here. . . . She's gone, she's gone."

    Later, when the dispatcher can't get Barton to respond, he says to a coworker, "I heard him in the background. He's shuffling stuff around."

    Barton later tells the dispatcher, "They broke in through my garage. . . . That's how they got in, I can see the window . . . Aw, man . . ."

    Community grieves, leads dry up

    In the hours and days following Vickie Barton 's homicide, detectives searched for clues, collected evidence and said publicly that Jim Barton was not a suspect. They also said it didn't appear that a struggle or robbery had accompanied the killing.

    The autopsy report from the Montgomery County coroner, however, shows that Barton 's attacker or attackers brutalized her body, shot her multiple times in the head and neck and left her for dead, clad only in her white blouse and jewelry - a wedding ring, heart-shaped earrings and a wristwatch with a horse design on the face.

    In her stomach, there were no signs of the submarine sandwich she supposedly had eaten less than two hours before her death, just "300 ml of tannish thin fluid," according to the autopsy report.

    The city of Springboro offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of Vickie Barton 's killer but the police investigation dragged on with no arrests.

    Jim Barton went about his life and returned to police work, where he continued to earn high ratings from his superiors. He sold Locust Hill Farm in October 1995, then remarried in June the next year.

    In 1996, detectives searched the home of a Montgomery County man, but came up empty. They also took a look at an alleged serial killer from Hamilton, but got nowhere.

    In late 1998, detectives acting on a tip exhumed the body of William Lee "Will" Phelps, 28, of Middletown. Tests done on DNA samples from Phelps' remains proved to be no help to detectives, who said the DNA did not match the physical evidence left at the scene.

    New developments

    in 9-year-old case

    Nine years after her death, Vickie Barton 's former coworkers continue to grieve.

    "There wasn't a finer person on the earth," said Dunham, who lives in Miamisburg. "I can't imagine why anyone would want to hurt this woman. She was just gold, she really was . . ."

    Dunham described Vickie Barton as an exemplary nurse who was meticulous in appearance, had a "wicked" sense of humor and a strong sense of compassion for her patients, the kind of person you'd want for a nurse.

    "She went beyond in all manners," Dunham said. "And always a smile. She had the sweetest face, the most beautiful brown eyes."

    "When this happened it was, like, `This is just so wrong on so many levels,' '' Dunham said.

    But Dunham and other former coworkers are encouraged by developments in the renewed investigation into Vickie Barton 's homicide. The Warren County Cold Case Team, established last year, unveiled information last week suggesting that police are closer than ever to solving the crime. And the person investigators believe could lead them to Vickie Barton 's killer is one they had previously cleared: Jim Barton .

    "Lieutenant Jim Barton was, and remains a suspect in this offense," Warren County Sheriff's Capt. John Newsom, head of the cold case unit, wrote on Monday, Jan. 19, in a summary to Springboro Police Chief Jeff Kruithoff.

    Kruithoff placed Barton on paid administrative leave on Tuesday pending a criminal and administrative investigation.

    The friend who had lunch with the Bartons the day Vickie died, Tom Barber, now a Waynesville police officer, also was placed on leave "until being cleared of any wrongdoing relating to the Vicki (sic) Barton homicide."

    Newsom also said police believe Phelps was present when Vickie Barton died. He said Jim Barton knew Phelps, who killed himself with carbon monoxide four months after Vickie Barton died. Investigators believe a second man - not Jim Barton or Barber - killed Vickie Barton , however

    Newsom also wrote that investigative experts are certain Jim Barton uttered "Oh man, I got to call Phelp," in his 911 call on April 11, 1995, an assertion Barton has denied.

    He also wrote that the crime scene was "staged" and that fingerprints and other evidence had been wiped away before medics and sheriff's deputies arrived.

    "Lieutenant Jim Barton was the only person at the residence during the 911 Call." Newsom wrote. "From this fact and the background sounds on the 911 Call, it is logical to conclude that Lieutenant Jim Barton tampered with the crime scene."

    Barton hires defense attorney

    After being suspended last week, Jim Barton hired prominent Dayton defense attorney John Rion, who said "it's only logical" that police question his client's involvement.

    "It's a textbook inquiry," Rion said. "Going by the numbers, the first person investigated in a cold case is the person who reported the crime. The second person investigated in a cold case is the person or persons last seen with the decedent."

    Rion said he has hired his own investigators.

    "We're looking at everything," he said.

    Police believe others are withholding information about the killing of Vickie Barton and hope they will come forward.

    "A lot of people are outraged that more was never done about this," said Dunham, Vickie Barton 's coworker at Sycamore.

    "She was so sweet and so compassionate and to think she would meet such a violent death is just so wrong. I have to have faith that whoever did this will be caught and held responsible.

    "She just deserves that dignity."

    Contact Anthony Gottschlich at (937) 225-7408 or (513) 696-4541.

  3. Having just seen this case on TV, I feel that the perps of the crime would have wiped down the scene of fingerprints. Why is Barton accused of it? Moreover, if he was only trying to "scare his wife into moving", and told Phelps and his fellow perp to do that by shooting over her head with guns provided by himself, (which would be foolish on his part; gunshots in midday result in people coming to the scene. Barton would more likely have had them threaten her eg. at knifepoint if his aim was to scare her). It borders on incredible that they would beat, rape and kill her if Barton was truly a co conspirator, knowing that Barton, a cop, would know them (at least Phelps) and be able to even the score somehow, whether through legal means at his disposal (he being a cop/"insider) or else in a criminal manner himself. He would have been doubly motivated to do this: (1), because he loved his wife, and if the story were accurate, it's natural that he would seek vengance, as he hadn't "hired" the perps to beat, rape, and kill his wife, but merely to scare her; (2), if he was involved, then Phelps would have been dead long before he took his own life, as he could tie Barton to the crime were he to be apprehended. The "deep breathing" before the lie detector test I feel is quite normal. One could fail these tests even if innocent, so it would be normal to try to do all you could to be sure to pass. I think a terrible injustice has been done to Jim Barton.

  4. Just watched this case on TLC. In answer to previous comment...maybe Lt. Barton had something to do with Phelps' suicide.

  5. I just saw the TV show, 48 Hours, and can't believe that Barton was convicted of this crime. He was said to have uttered the possible killer's name "Phelps" on a 911 call. Yeh, I'm sure everyone would name someone who would implicate them in a crime. Oh and he didn't say "Phelps" he said "phelp" (which the prosecutor claims he said) or "for help"( which he claims to have said). It sounded to me like "forhelp". And of course, we would probably all say wood when talking about Tiger Woods. What is incredulous is that 2 of the jurors, after hearing three inmates testify after the trial that the star witness for the prosecution (a life time criminal and inveterate liar) admitted he made it all up and was hypnotized before his testimony, said that it wouldn't change their mind. Were these people on drugs or just idiots?

  6. I just saw the TV show, 48 Hours, and can't believe that Barton was convicted of this crime. He was said to have uttered the possible killer's name "Phelps" on a 911 call. Yeh, I'm sure everyone would name someone who would implicate them in a crime. Oh and he didn't say "Phelps" he said "phelp" (which the prosecutor claims he said) or "for help"( which he claims to have said). It sounded to me like "forhelp". And of course, we would probably all say wood when talking about Tiger Woods. What is incredulous is that 2 of the jurors, after hearing three inmates testify after the trial that the star witness for the prosecution (a life time criminal and inveterate liar) admitted he made it all up and was hypnotized before his testimony, said that it wouldn't change their mind. Were these people on drugs or just idiots?

  7. This guy is guilty,
    it seems strange that an another inmate just happened to leave him a note so he can be cleared, obviously the three inmates were offered deals... and you can tell he is lying by his facial expressions, he lifts his eye brows too many times, trying to sell his lies

    1. AnonymousJune 07, 2012

      You do not get offered deals to debunk the prosecutors case. The prosecutor is the only one that can offer deals.

  8. If this ex-police officer can get a sentence of such length, how come Liysa Northon only received 12years when she was the person that actually pulled the trigger that killed her husband, after drugging him with sleeping pills? Where's the justice?

  9. What would be the motive for scaring the wife into town? The police chief job did not require it, according to the show. Why didn't this star witness for the prosecution bring up Lt. Barton's involvement if he's willing to spill the beans about his brother? Where is this so called mystery accomplice, anyone bother to look for this supposed unknown? Seems like an over zealous prosecutor got a case of pride (imagine that, huh?) Guilty or not, the evidence doesn't support Lt. Barton's involvement. The jury was willing to consider a lying convict's word on this case, and then acted skeptical to the testimony of three other inmates. Clearly this case is questionable, but the burden should be beyond reasonable doubt and it rests on the prosecutor. She dropped the ball on this point. I did investigative work both in the military and private sector. This case is far from concrete.

    1. I have been puzzled about how hearsay evidence got admitted anyway. Hearsay is hearsay, right? No matter how many details a third person has, the defendant never gets to face his accuser. And why believe one crook instead of three? Three who were for the defense had no "deal" or coercion possible while the defense witness had both non-prosecution AND possible coercion as possible issues. And, he changed his story meaningfully repeatedly.

      The only thing that bothered me about Lt. Barton was the 100% deceptive output the computer polygraph came up with. But then, polygraphs aren't admissable either.

  10. This is about the career criminal who came forward with the story that his brother did it and (very conveniently) was now dead and so couldn't be questioned about it. This criminal knew things only the perp or his accomplice would have known, such as the bite marks. There is another way he could have this information other than from his brother. He could have been the killer. He could have known the killer and wanted to protect him. Why didn't the police get an impression of this man's teeth to compare with the bite mark, or his DNA to compare with that found under Vickie's fingernails? How hard would it be to determine who Will Phelps or his brother hung with? Why did the criminal not mention Barton the first time? The 'expert' used by the defense clearly showed on the 911 tape that Barton uttered two syllables or beats, e.g. "for help". This whole case was nothing but weak, circumstantial evidence and lack of sufficient investigative tools by the police department. Since he did not have to live in town to be chief, what could have been Barton's motive? Don't you need to prove means, motive, and opportunity? Were the jurors not adequately instructed? I just can't, for the life of me, see how the conviction could have been a reality or the opportunity for a new trial turned down. This case clearly proves that justice is not about whodunnit, but who had the better lawyer. A judicial tragedy.

  11. I watched this segment twice. The first time I thought I must have missed the evidence that was presented against the officer, Jim Barton. The chief witness, a jailed prisoner, is allowed to testify hearsay evidence of supposed conversations he had with his now dead cousin. He was also fed information from the prosecution. I can't believe that Jim Barton was convicted with no evidence other than the audio tape of his 911 call “For Help” thought to be heard as Phelp?

    Other witnesses tried to help Jim Barton and their testimony was not allowed.

    YOU HAVE AN INNOCENT MAN IN JAIL!!! The city of Springboro and the Warren County investigators should be ashamed…this man is innocent!!!

    1. AnonymousJune 08, 2015

      Mr. Barton is very guilty.
      The police did a good job after all these years even though they shoudl have suspected him much earlier...and he failed the lie detector test, and he was seen in a restaurant with Phelp, he was moving things while calling the police,...GUILTY.

    2. yes they did

    3. he is guilty as sin. innocent i think not

    4. He is ABSOLUTELY NOT guilty!! For your information, the results of the lie detector test were "inconclusive", he did not "fail" the test. Big Difference!!

      Additionally, he WAS NOT seen in a restaurant "with" Phelps. He did not even know the guy. A former waitress who worked at a restaurant in a nearby small town testified that she saw them at the same restaurant some 12 yrs prior to the trial. Really!!?? It's people like you who do not know the true facts about the case that feel the sick need to make inaccurate statements and conclude to a false opinion. Your opinion is based on your "lack of knowledge" about this case. Lt. Jim Barton was wrongfully convicted!!! Two horrific and unimaginable tragedies for this innocent man and his family!!!

    5. Not only is he not guilty he has had his conviction over turned and as being released.
      I'm sure anyone who thinks he is guilty only knows what's in the media and doesn't know the case on a personal level. Either way you were wrong and he will be released for the wrongful conviction.

    6. Supreme Court denies hearing Barton case
      WDTN.com Staff
      Published: March 21, 2016, 10:28 am Updated: March 21, 2016, 3:23 pm

      WASHINGTON, (WDTN) – The Supreme Court has refused to hear the case of a former Springboro Police Lieutenant.

      2 NEWS spoke with Thomas Hagel, Professor Emeritus at the University of Dayton School of Law. Hagel said he is not surprised the Supreme Court denied hearing this case.

      Thomas James Barton has served more than 10 years in prison for his role in the murder of his wife, Vickie Barton, in 1995.

      Barton’s wife, Vickie, was found murdered nearly 21 years ago inside their Springboro home.

      Barton was accused of hiring two men to burglarize their home and scare his wife into moving off their farm and into the city.

      In 2015, the sixth circuit court of appeals ruled the state must either retry Barton, or release him.

  12. I watched this segment when it aired last week or so. The tape when slowed down sounded like two syllables, but when played faster it sounded like one. Inconclusive!

    One expert plays the tape slow, the other expert plays it fast. However the point is he didn't say Phelps, he either said "For-help" or some form of Phelp, not Phelps. Assuming of course there was no blurp in the digital recording. Could this slurred speech be the only thing that keeps him in prison? If he was using a cell phone (can't recall if it was a landline) voice can dropoff including on landlines.

    For me there was reasonable doubt to what he truly said. It was my understanding there was no pre-qualification for him living in Springboro to obtain the job there.

    The criminal was found to be lying on a few occassions which also brings reasonable doubt. Perhaps he was persuaded to make the claims. The other inmates really had nothing to gain by stating what they heard about the killer.

    Where do they find these jurors? I am not saying he is completely innocent of conspiracy to kill his wife, but there isn't enough evidence (at least on that show) to come to a guilty verdict intellectually, IMO.

    1. AnonymousJune 08, 2015

      He said "Phelp" instead of "Phelps" because it is easier and faster to say without the "S" and he was calling the police at the same time.
      He failed the lie detector test, had a motive, was seen with Phelp at a restaurant, staged the scene and moved things around while calling the police (stupid!)....GUILTY. Justice was served.

  13. AnonymousJune 14, 2009

    I just finished watching this and am pretty angry with it. I cannot believe that the jury would convict him on the evidence of a drugged(hypnosis) lifetime liar and thief. He knows to much. I feel that they missed something with him. He knows more then he is telling about. They implied that his cousin killed himself based on the fact that he felt guilty, if this was so don't you think that he would have left a note. I feel that if guilt was eating away at him that he would have needed some way to relieve himself before killing himself. This whole trial was bush league. There is way to much circumstantial evidence for this to lead to a guilty verdict.

  14. This case screams injustice!!! If I were a resident of warren county, ohio I would be demanding a new trial for this man. I would be ashamed to have these brain-dead people on any jury representing any place that I was from. I was so angry at the two jurors they showed that I had to leave a comment this is pure BS that a innocent person can be sent to prison because of a lying convict and a slurred couple of words. I'm quite sure if anyone found their loved one like that they wouldn't be able to annunciate
    clearly either. I have never gotten so pissed off while watching 48 hrs!!!

  15. This case screams injustice!!! If I were a resident of warren county, ohio I would be demanding a new trial for this man. I would be ashamed to have these brain-dead people on any jury representing any place that I was from. I was so angry at the two jurors they showed that I had to leave a comment this is pure BS that a innocent person can be sent to prison because of a lying convict and a slurred couple of words. I'm quite sure if anyone found their loved one like that they wouldn't be able to annunciate
    clearly either. I have never gotten so pissed off while watching 48 hrs!!!

  16. This case screams injustice!!! If I were a resident of warren county, ohio I would be demanding a new trial for this man. I would be ashamed to have these brain-dead people on any jury representing any place that I was from. I was so angry at the two jurors they showed that I had to leave a comment this is pure BS that a innocent person can be sent to prison because of a lying convict and a slurred couple of words. I quite sure if anyone found they're loved one like that they wouldn't be able to annumciate
    clearly either. I have never gotten so pissed off while watching 48 hrs!!!

  17. Ex-Springboro police lieutenant's release from jail likely
    Dayton Daily News
    By Lawrence Budd
    April 12, 2004
    ...Authorities arrested Barton, rather than allowing him to surrender, after investigators spotted him with A PACKED CAR AND BOAT FRIDAY, Warren County Prosecutor Rachel Hutzel said...

  18. Vickie's friend said she had very warm brown eyes... that she was more than just a victim of this crime. She was a kind wonderful woman.

  19. I have an mp3 of the questionable part of the recording that different people interpret differently that I will send anyone who emails me. It's a small file.

    I don't know how it sounds slowed way down or played backwards. I only know what he seems to clearly say at regular speed.

  20. AnonymousJune 15, 2009

    Lt. Jim Barton
    Statement Analysis
    by Mark McClish
    Posted December 19, 2005


    ...On the 911 tape, Burton states "*They* broke in through my garage."

    Lt. George Hunter was the first officer to arrive at the Barton residence. He testified that Barton told him,

    "*They* shot her man. *They've* killed her. Why did *they* have to kill her *those* murdering bastards*?"...

  21. AnonymousJune 17, 2009

    Former Springboro police officer asks court to free him
    Dayton Daily News
    By Lawrence Budd
    Staff Writer 7:09 AM Thursday, June 11, 2009

    CINCINNATI — Former Springboro police Lt. Jim Barton has turned to the federal courts for relief from his sentence of as much as 50 years in prison for his role in his wife’s death in April 1995.

    Barton, now 53, is being held at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville.

    In March 2005, Judge James Flannery sentenced Barton to 15-50 years in prison for involuntary manslaughter and complicity to aggravated burglary after a trial in Warren County Common Pleas Court.

    Since then, a variety of appeals have been rejected by state courts, including the Ohio Supreme Court.

    On May 19, U.S. Magistrate Judge Timothy Black ordered lawyers for Phillip Kern, warden of the state prison in Lucasville, to respond within 60 days to claims that Barton should be freed because his civil rights were violated during the trial.

    Barton’s lawyer Richard Pagan said the federal court was a better venue for the appeal.

    “We presented facts (in state appeals) that in a federal court would have carried the day,” Pagan said this week.

    Lawyers in the Ohio Attorney General’s Office are preparing a response.

    Pagan claims Barton’s trial lawyers failed to object to testimony by Gary Henson about statements by his dead brother.

    Henson testified his brother made statements about his role in the break-in at the Barton’s Franklin Twp. home that resulted in the death and sexual assault of Vickie Barton, 40, an instructor at the Kettering College of Medical Arts.

    Prosecutors said her husband hired Henson’s brother and another man — who has never been identified — to break into the home to frighten her into moving to Springboro so he could become police chief.

    Pagan also accuses prosecutors of withholding evidence they could have used to discredit Henson.

    Despite the trial and appeals rulings, supporters continue to question the verdict.

    The case was featured in a CBS 48 Hours segment that continues to air on TV, prompting questions by viewers.

    Contact this reporter at (937) 225-2261 or lbudd@DaytonDailyNews.com.


  22. AnonymousJuly 03, 2009

    Absolute Outrage! I don't even know what to write I am so livid.
    What is really scarey is that they sent an innocent man to jail for 15to 50 years! Like a previous post, all they had to go on was a convicts testimony and a questionable 2 words. As I was watching 48 hours everytime Barton mentioned Will Phelps he referred to him as "Phelps". (plural) Write there shows huge reasonable doubt for one not to mention incriminating himself saying I gotta call Phelp, man. I cannot believe that 12 people found this man guilty beyond reasonable doubt! There is no evidence whatsoever...I just don't get it?! Is there anything we can do to get this man a new trial?

    1. they got the right man no doubt. he may not of killed her himself but he hired who did. i believe there was a 3rd person there. i also watched everything about the case they got the right man for sure

    2. You "watched" everything about the case??? What an absurd and ridiculous statement. It's apparent you know NOTHING about the case! Even the evidence "allowed" to be presented at trial wasn't inclusive of all the facts of the case. Jim Barton's attorneys failed him, causing him to receive an unjust trial!

  23. Why do people think that on a TV SHOW that they learned, saw, and considered everything that the jury had?

    If it's so obvious on the tv show, but so clearly the opposite to a jury, perHAPS the tv show left things out.

    TV is a vehicle for information and it's entertainment but it's not a court of law.

    1. EXACTLY! I'm sure the jury had alot more info. I was wondering about phone records. I'm sure if he 'had to call Phelps' that his phone records vs. Phelps in the weeks before would show some communication. And Phelps from that day would link the 3rd person. I think he did it. No one rapes someone and leaves ALL KINDS OF DNA but is extra careful not to leave fingerprints. And what police chief slams stuff around in the background messing up a crime scene. He KNOWS to back out of that house and not mess with evidence.

    2. We know why he was "moving stuff". He was securing the area because, at that stage, he was not sure if the perps were still present. I would do the same and I have no doubt a cop trained to do just that would do just that. And, just what the hell "phone records" are you referring too. Sounds like something you've plucked out of thin air. Why are you "sure" the jury had more info?? Sounds like biased thinking on your part.

  24. I think what this entire charade shows is just how flawed our justice system is and how overly aggressive our prosecutors are. It seems that prosecutors don't even care about evidence that might exonnerate the accused. Part of their job should be to thoroughly examine all evidence and remain 100% neutral. I've seen cases where the guilty party was let out of jail because of certain new evidence, yet the prosecutors still remain rigid as to the party still being guilty. There was a case down south in that an African American woman was accused of killing the baby she had given birth to. She had an extremely low IQ as did her boyfriend who had both concocted a crazy story. The woman was sent to a hospital where tests were taken. It was determined that she had her tubes tied years before and that it was impossible for her to become impregnated. The prosecutor insisted that she was still guilty. In Barton's case there simply was not what appeared to be enough evidence to have convicted the man. If nothing else there was certainly reasonable doubt. It seems like juries get confused about where to draw the line as to what reasonable doubt actually is. I believe that in a lot of cases that the party is guilty, but the evidence simply is not there. Yet the jury votes guilty anyway. It has to be because they are judging based on their emotions and not on the facts. I've seen so many cases where there was no evidence to speak of and an extreme amount of reasonable doubt, yet the accused was still found guilty. If you can't keep your emotions out of the way and base your decision strictly on evidence, then you have no place on a jury. Our justice system is seriously flawed. How many innocents have been let out of prison because of advances in DNA evidence. Why are these people even in prison to begin with. The evidence surely could not have been there to begin with if the person didn't do it.
    It sounded like Barton said Phelp on the 911 call and not for help. The thing that bothers me is that the mans name was Phelps and not Phelp. It also bothers me that the jailhouse snitch knew about the bite mark on Vickie Barton's chest. That was never released to the public. Since the snitch's brother was the alleged killer, this evidence does not look good for Barton. Another troubling thing is why was one jailhouse snitch's testimony allowed and not others? The snitch had something to gain in that he was informed that he would be psosecuted if he did not testify. So he was basically forced to testify. The other three snitches on the side of the defense had absolutely nothing to gain by coming forward. I would think many criminals would be more than happy to see a cop go to jail. Why would they bother. At the very least, Barton should have been allowed a new trial. The jurors thought that the three snitches presented no new evidence. What planet are they on...I think, with my emotions, that Barton is probably guilty. It's not about emotions though, it's about evidence beyond a reasonable doubt. That evidence was seriously lacking. Barton should not be in jail, period. That's how our system works. I've seen guilty parties get off on technicalities. I have no problem with that since that is how our justice system is set up. Barton also miserably failed his polygraph test. But then, polygraph results are not allowed as evidence in a court of law. Why is that? Because polygraph's can be beaten and they can be wrong. Severe nervousness will throw the results a mile off course. I would think that taking a tranquilizer would also alter the results. So based on our justice system, Barton should be released from jail immediately. Seems like the rules get bent an awful lot. This is all just my opinion. I'd have had to have been present to really make an intelligent decision. There has to be a lot more to the case than presented in one hour of television. And as to the fact that only ten or so fingerprints were found in the entire Barton house, maybe one or the other were clean freaks and liked their house to be very tidy.

    1. AnonymousMay 27, 2012

      If he knew what was going on why would he even mention the word phelp

  25. I think he is guilty. Jon Paul Rion is an excellent attorney. If there was anyway he could get him off- prove him innocent....he would have. I'm glad Barton is in jail. He deserves to be.

  26. the problem with some one who is involved in a crime -- is just that he talks and answers question with that knowledge in mind --- thay broke into the garage ---- they shot my wife ----why did they have to shoot my wife --- (phone call clearly states gotta phone phelp man --- (same as conspiracy theories--- say the words were slurred together as one -- really meant gotta phone for help man (what was he actually doing with the call he was already phoning for his help ( lame excuse for an ironic slip up which suggests that he was surprised his plan had ended in murder which this phone call clearly explains -- but as I started out tosay w--- when you know part of what happened its hard to get this out of your conscience --- good detective work and hey aslo got a witness to say he was in bar years previous with someone he claimed he never knew --- the real ironic thing is that he cannot tell he truth and say he only wanted his wife scarred as he denied this initially ---closest he came to equat this irony was on 48 hours when he said in his interview ---MAYBE PHELPS HAD NOWT TO DO WITH THIS CRIME--- SHOULD HAVE TOLD THE TRUTH ABOUT HIS PLAN AND HE WOULD HAVE BEEN RELEASED FROM JAIL BY NOW

  27. I'm the guy that testified that Phelps lied on the stand about Jim Barton. Feel free to ask me anything at rhutzeliswrong@yahoo.com. I testified of my own free will. Period...

  28. This is just craziness and no justice has been served. First of all, why would a career criminal who is known to be dishonest be believed over a man that served his community for so many years? Secondly, as a cop, Jim Barton knows the importance of making sure the criminal(s) has left the crime scene and are not hiding, so he looks in obvious places such as closets and is accused of wiping the place clean? Whatever. It's very apparent that the officials have no clue what they are even doing and should be very ashamed of themselves.

    Mary in Camden, MI. USA

  29. You can take that upstanding officer proof out of your equation. I'm not saying he was or wasn't - just that being an officer is not proof of righteousness. Like any group of folks you have the saints, the brutes, and everyone else inbetween.

    And the savvy know to involve people (or prey on people) who won't be believed.

    1. AnonymousMay 27, 2012

      He has an impeccable record in the force you fool, thats why!

  30. I have been a police officer for 26 years and have rarely seen such incompetence on the part of prosecutors. "Reasonable doubt" screams out in this case. I do not know Jim Barton and am all for putting criminal cops away for a long time. However, I am stunned by several things in this case. For one thing, all cops know crooks cannot be trusted EVER. My understanding is that Gary Henson took a polygraph and failed just like Barton did. If he didn't take one, why not? Why would the prosecution believe one crook who never mentioned Barton when he was first questioned but all of a sudden remembers that his brother said Barton hired him but won't believe 3 others who say Henson told them he lied? Does that make sense? Also, the idea that Barton hired thugs to "scare" his wife is insane. Any cop knows that "Murphy's Law" takes over when scumballs start planing anything. I heard the tape when Barton supposedly used the word "Phelp". If you think for a minute that an experienced officer would make a mistake like that, you are out of touch with reality. Even the investigating officer said it sounded like "I gotta call fahelp, Man." If prosecutors ever find the other, unknown rapist and murderer,(they probably will since they have his DNA) I think they will discover that an innocent man is in prison.

  31. "...If you think for a minute that an experienced officer would make a mistake like that, you are out of touch with reality..."

    That's not a proof to base anything on. Stuff happens, including stupidity. People say cops are people too - and it follows that includes what appears to be stupidity.

    "...Also, the idea that Barton hired thugs to "scare" his wife is insane..."

    This blog has several incidents of killer thugs being hired by officers. It is not insanity... bad people who do bad things and whose reputations allow the defense to refute what they say when they were caught.

    What pd did you work for?

  32. Have there been any more leads on who the unidentified accomplice was? There is still a killer out on the loose....

  33. Ony Jim Barton knows.............

  34. Sad about our justice systemMarch 21, 2010

    Let's be honest here. Can you people that say Barton is guilty honestly say there is no reasonable doubt? I mean come on...let's use common sense here. It's laughable now when people say innocent until proven guilty or found guilty BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT because in so many cases around the country, that is not the case. Look at all the innocent people that have been exonerated over the last 15-20 years. That is proof right there. I feel that Barton got a bad shake but I wasn't there. I only saw the show, not the trial. But you do get the facts in the show and you are told what got him convicted and I find it very interesting that the original investigators didn't pursue him and that Henson didn't say he was involved in 1998. Hmmmmm...something is not right with that. Yet, somehow all that gets him convicted. That, and a recorded call that who knows what was said. The only thing I can say to that is he didn't even say the man's name right. It's Phelps, not Phelp. Are you going to say Jone, if the last person's name was Jones? I highly doubt it. Once again, something is wrong with that. On top of all that he would incriminate himself on a recording like that? Come on! Really? I mean...for all that say he is guilty, really? Beyond a reasonable doubt? Be honest. The prosecutors should be ashamed. The jury and the judge should be as well. I find it so sad that jurors would believe one career criminal who was shown to have lied MANY times over a seasoned cop, and for the judge to say the three that came forward for the defense meant nothing. Honestly people...are you mad if you don't think something is quite off here?

  35. AnonymousJune 28, 2010

    Just saw the show last night. We were talking about it for an hour. Based on what was presented, I cannot see how the jury could have convicted him, guilty or not. When I listened to the recording, I heard "for help", not Phelps! There must be more to the story than what was presented on 48 hours or there are some real stupid jurors and judges out there.

  36. AnonymousJuly 10, 2010

    There is nothing in any of the evidence to convict Jim Barton except speculation. This man is in jail for no valid reason. He did not have any reason to have his wife killed the prosecution was able to introduce testimony from the supposed killer. Gary Henson said that Jim Barton hired his brother. This was hearsay evidence and should not have even been heard by the jury. There was nothing found at the crime scene to support that Phelps was even involved in the murder as his half brother testified to.

    This whole case was put together on bogus evidence the supposed killer was named “Phelps” not “Fohelp” or Phelp. If you listen to Jim Barton’s 911 tapes closely you can hear the level of frustration growing as he is trying to call for help prior to being put on hold by the 911 operator. He is simply mumbling I have got to call "fohelp man” Nowhere is the word Phelps heard.

    I understand that one of Barton’s prosecutors was fired from Warren County for fabrication of evidence and lying on another case. After seeing this case it is little wonder.

    This man needs justice and a new trial

  37. AnonymousJuly 11, 2010

    I just finally figured out what I found so troubling about this case. Gary Henson was allowed to testify to things that he had no direct knowledge of. The prosecution would not have been able to prove their conspiracy case against Barton without Henson’s testifying that Barton had hired Phelps. Since Henson was not present at any of those meetings that seems to me to exceed the limits of credibility. I now doubt Gary Henson’s story completely and wonder if will Phelps was involved with Vicki Barton’s murder at all.

    While Henson's story would explain Will Phelps's suicide the case is totally devoid of any physical evidence or corroborating facts.. Nine years after the fact Gary Hensen become a " Nuclear strike" for the Prosecution. He is able to explain three gunshot wounds to Vicki Barton's head, "an accident, I panicked" is what he was told by Phelps. The bite marks," he was a real crazy dude" referring to the unknown co-conspirator's.

    He, with his hearsay testimony alone, solved the prosecutions case. No identification of the co-conspirator, no confirming evidence , no gun, no finger prints , no witnesses.Nothing credible to tie Thomas "Jim " Barton to his wife's murder but this testimony, even further and just as hard to believe is there is nothing to tie Will Phelps to her murder either. Gary Henson is just way to convenient and he is hypnotized by the prosecution prior to developing his testimony? What a witness.

    This case needs to be reopened.

  38. AnonymousJuly 20, 2010

    I want to know where any payment to Phelps or anyone else is for hiring him to scare Vicki Barton. If he had said about calling Phelp during the 911 call how come prosecution lawyers haven't shown any calls to him from Barton before or after the murder. As previously stated where is a suicide note from Phelps, if he felt so guilty to kill himself how come he never got it off his chest and cleared it up. Where is the other person that the DNA belongs to, the only person that we can be sure had a part to play in the murder. How come no matter what new evidence is brought forward there is never a new trial etc. Someone wants Barton to take the fall for this crime and they are not going to let him go and the case get re-opened. Maybe a closed case is more important than justice but there is definately reasonible doubt here so how can this jury find him guilty. Something is not right here and it's not Jim Bartons innocence.

  39. I saw the 48 Hours show now and I'm left wondering what the collective educational level of the jury must have been. I honestly do not believe they had a clue as to what "reasonable doubt" means. This case screams reasonable doubt! Jim Barton has gotten shafted by the same justice system that he worked so many years to uphold.

    What bothers me most is the prosecutors. How, in good conscience, could they have even brought this case against Barton. Even they admit the "evidence" they had was circumstantial, not to mention a star witness that has made a career of crime. A man that admits to being a con artist and a liar. Are we to believe that this man had some kind of devine intervention and is now telling the truth? NOT!

    Why didn't the prosecution question the fact that Henson never mentioned any involvement by Barton at the time of the first interview and continued to not mention it for years. I find it hard to believe that a career criminal, who obviously has contempt for the law, wouldn't be anxious to incriminate a police officer in such a horrible crime, especially a high ranking officer with the exemplary record that Barton had. Does it make sense that he would keep quiet about this?

    Henson's whole testimony is pure hearsay as he recounts a story told to him by a now dead man leaving no way to confirm the story. It also seems unreasonable to believe that Phelps told Henson all this info about the crime, but he wouldn't tell him who his accomplice was.

    I'm not a lawyer, but isn't there something in the law about the accused being allowed to face his accuser? If Phelps implicated Barton that makes Phelps Barton's accuser. Henson is just a mouth that relayed a story and the storyteller is dead. How is Barton supposed to face his accuser? Henson's whole testimony is objectionable.

    The prosecution gave the motive as Barton's attempt to scare his wife into moving into city limits so he could be Chief of Police. It was a fact brought out that living in city limits is not a requirement to obtain this position. it is presented that even though it is not a written policy to have to live in the city limits, it is an "unwritten" knowledge. In other words, it is something that is spoken about at the job place in soft voices. It's called passing rumors. Recall that the definition of hearsay = rumors.

    This case begs justice. I don't care if the jurors personally "felt" Jim Barton was guilty. If you judge on your feelings then you are not being objective. You are not basing a verdict on the facts of the case. It's apparent that this jury let personal feelings guide their decision. If they were being objective then they wouldn't have dismissed so quickly the added testimony of the other three inmates that came forward to refute Hanson's lies as was shone in the 48 Hours interview.

    I wished I had been on the jury. I would have stood my ground even if it would have been against all the other jurors. I could have taken the time to explain to the other jurors what reasonable doubt means as it seems they didn't know. I would have worked for a not guilty verdict, but if that wasn't possible, I sure would have hung the jury. Atleast that would have given Mr Barton a chance at another trial where the extra three testimonies could be presented to a new jury. And maybe the defense could add in a half-a-day dissertation on reasonable doubt so the jury is totally clear on the meaning.

    To Jim Barton: I don't know if you are able to get on the internet and read any postings about your case, but if you do, keep in mind that the majority of the public is behind you. We are hoping that you get another chance in court. In the meantime, stay tough and keep your chin up.

  40. Wow. I just saw this documentary on A&E. Granted, I didn't get to see the whole trail, but from what I saw, I can't believe a 12 person jury convincted this guy. I'd have NEVER sent someone to jail on such silly evidence.

    And basically, the whole thing rests on him saying "phelp" (not Phelps mind you). In the context of the call, what makes more sense? That he said "for help" or told the 9-11 dispatcher that he needed to call the person he hired to do the crime?

    And what does it prove that there were few fingerprints, couldn't the criminal have wiped down the scene? And the fact that he said "they", give me a break. If he said, "He", they could say "How'd he know it was a male, or just one person?"

    I think the con who testified against him was involved, and concocted this story to cover his ass. He even changed his story in the stand!

    The fucking juries should be sent to jail.

  41. The prosecution's entire theroy is absurd and the testimony of the half-brother is unbelievable. Jim Barton's call to 911 is nearly 8 minutes long when he says in exasperation, " I gotta call for help man." The D.A. says he said " Call Phelp man ". Of course their alleged killer was named Phelps,not Phelp, and Barton says in next breath " I need help man". It is scary to think that 12 people could hear this case and make the decision they did. The criminals here are the prosecutors who presented this false evidence and the jury who can't find reasonable doubt in those lies.

  42. I am a former Federal officer and have sat on the stand to convict many a criminal, fellow officers included. I am taken back by the fact that no evidence of any phone records were introduced to show any contact between Barton and Phelps. Also, why didn't the defense bring up the fact that Henson never even mentioned Barton's name until 5 years later.

    Henson's first testimony, which I had the chance to depose, states that his half brother, Phelps, told him 4 days after the murder that he and a friend went to the house to rob her, staking it out by posing as a stranded motorist and then something went wrong and he shot her.
    Not once did he mention that Phelps asked him to accompany him to the house, that didn't come up until 5 years later when his story changed.

    His second stated to police, which again I have personally read, he story totally changes. He now says that weeks before Phelps asked him to do it with him but he couldn't because he was in jail and Phelps found another.

    This case reeks of a prosecutor who thinks she knew what the facts were and blinded herself to the facts. The prosecutors entire case was hearsay and should have never been allowed to be heard by the jury. So many mistakes, perhaps Barton had a public defender who was new to law but this case is literally ridiculous.

    Henson says that Phelps stated he accidentally shot her 3 times in the head? That was no accident. She was raped, bitten and abused. Was a national DNA search done? No phone records ever tying Phelps to Barton found? Three convicted inmates (one a 5 year veteran of teh police dept, serving 90 days for taking pot from an evidence room) testimony doesn't give him a new trial??? Something is very wrong in Ohio, I can tell you that.

    I am using my contacts in US government to investigate this case and reopen it for possible tempering. I have found that one of the prosecutors on the case was already fired for lying on another case and trial is pending for that now. That alone is cause for mistrial by law in all 50 states.

    This case is not over and when Barton sues Warren County as a free man and wins, and those who choose to overlook the evidence and temper with witnesses are prosecuted as well, then and only then will justice prevail.

    This is a terrible case of misuse of power and it's going to come out shortly.

    1. We're you able to get the case reopened? I sure hope so. This man is definitely innocent and

  43. You are not a federal officer. It's TAMpering, not TEMpering.

    Every time this airs as tv entertainment the same kind of comments are posted here. Things were just possibly different in the court room than on your tv sets.

    1. You must be somehow directly involved in this case. It is very apparent by the way you respond to people's comments. People are entitled to their own opinions and do not need someone like yourself leaving responses to everything you personally disagree with.

  44. PART 1 of 2

    Yes, things were very different in the courtroom. First and foremost, the cold case team's only purpose when started was to solve Warren County's biggest case (Vickie Barton's murder). Ya wanna know why? It was an election year. Tom Ariss wanted nothing more than to get this case solved and he didn't care how. Those of you who aren't from Warren County have no idea the amount of corruption and injustice that took place here ON A DAILY BASIS. It was a corrupt county, from the villages all the way up to the elected officials. It was ran on the "good ole boy" system. A couple of the investigators on the cold case team had falsified evidence in a previous case just to get a conviction. They threatened and harassed innocent people and are guilty of multiple civil rights violations.

    All of the evidence is hearsay and circumstantial. There is an innocent man sitting in prison and his career along with other people's careers and personal lives were completely destroyed. Any part of the evidence which was submitted could be looked at from a multitude of different angles.

    And 48 hours is telling everything. There are some facts that some people weren't aware of. At the time this heinous murder was committed there "was" a residency requirement for the Chief of Police position. The only residency requirement that had been lifted was one that was in place that stated all administrative personnel Sgt. and above had to live in the city limits. That's why Sgt. Reedy had to sell his farm and move to Springboro several years ago to be promoted from officer to Sgt. At the time THE CHIEF HAD TO RESIDE WITHIN THE BOUNDARIES OF THE CITY.

    However, Jim Barton bought that farm for the sole purpose of fulfilling both he and Vickie's dream of living in the country, owning horses, and disassociating himself from where he worked. No one wants to live where they work, them especially!

    Oh, to: CARLOS's opinion, He always did that with his eyebrows. It doesn't mean he was lying.

    and we all know lie detector tests are crap, and the CVSA the county uses is crap.

    Oh to: "one of the anonymity's" If you can bring the Feds in, more power to ya" They have been brought in before on different things. Remember when they practically took over Cincinnati Police Department for quite awhile? yeah, well, they REALLY need to do that here. As far as I'm concerned, if anyone has gotten so much as a parking ticket in this God forsaken county it should be expunged!


  45. Part 2 of 2

    Don't get me wrong, this county does have "some" good officers, BUT the people who "have control" over those officers are the ones who have led them astray.

    And the rustling in the background on the 911 call "was" probably Jim just making sure no one else was in there. And, Vickie kept an immaculate house, so it doesn't surprise me that the house seemed "wiped down".

    Oh yeah, the dogs were never forensically checked for trace! Were they? Oh and for that deputy who was first on the scene! who the heck "learned you" how to secure a crime scene??????? There were more badges in and out of that house within the 3+ hours it took the crime scene to show up than I could count. YES, I WAS COUNTING. There were cruiser tire tracks all through the yard all the way up to the garage and around the house. That's why the only PHYSICAL evidence you had was what was on Vickie. And, it doesn't match anybody.

    Jim's only guilty of hiring a Defense attorney that can be "bought" for the right price no matter which side your on or who he's representing. (so I'm told)

    And, I'm sure (lead prosecutor, hint hint) offered a deal to the supposedly honest trustworthy criminals she had on her witness list. Hypnotism.......REALLY! Have we progressed to that?!? It's not that the prosecutor's are incompetent! They are very competent, AT FRAMING PEOPLE.

    Okay, I'm gonna stop now before red dots start shining through my window (know what I mean). Because I'm sure my IP address has already started popping up on computer screens throughout the county by this point.

    Last point. To whoever said "only Jim knows". put it into the correct context. only Jim is the one who truly knows his innocence, there wasn't enough evidence to make an allegation let alone sending a man to prison and ruining his life, and the lives of his family and friends.

    The only one(s) who know the truth is Vickie and her killer(s).

    I'm gonna put anonymous just by the slim chance that no one knows who this is, just because I've been a cop around here for a long time and know how this place operates.

    1. Thank you for some honest information. I hope that for the sake of the city/county the crooked people are all convicted of the wrongs they have done.

  46. Earlier tonight i watched a television show about the murder of vickie barton, and as a result of watching the first half hour i thought to myself no way this guy (Jim Barton) is guilty of any crime.
    Much to my surprise the show went on and he was convicted?? WHAT??
    I listened to his 911 call and i was convinced he said 'help' not 'phelp!'
    A quick point to make, wasn't the criminal's name not phelps? If jim barton was as stupid to say that over the phone to the 911 response in the first place (which a man that had supposedly organised all this and had years of police experience, would be dumb as hell to do.) would he not give the proper use of the name phelps and not phelp? After all, he has said this openly and willingly, has he not?
    The reason he never added the 's' part of the name, is because Jim Barton had said during the phone call,
    'i gotta call for help, man.' just as Jim Barton claimed that he did!
    Never before have I seen such nonsense go to court and win!
    Okay but some people may say, 'but why would gary hansen say this, as he isn't getting anything out of it?' Well I would say that he may have a grudge with the police in general or and i think this the more likely reason, he just wanted attention! I know this to be true of many people as i have seen and experienced first hand, fabricated stories for no apparent reason, other than they wanted to be centre of attention...
    Isn't it convenient that Gary Hansen decided to be honest this one time? The time the police wanted and needed him to be honest... Not likely!
    This whole story sickens me and i feel so sorry for Jim Barton and his former mother in law.
    There is one thing I really despise in the world and that is crooked coppers, but JIM BARTON is not one of them! Give him a new fair trial today?

    I am so glad that where I come from, nobody would likely be convicted in such circumstances and with such a severe lack of evidence.

    John (Scotland, UK)

  47. I am terrified by this senario. An innocent man was convicted with ZERO evidence. "Phelp" or "Fahelp" Are you kidding me. And the only other "evidence" was a con-man liar who lied when he said his brother did it and then when the DNA didnt match, he changes his story to an "Unknown" person so the DNA couldnt prove he is a liar. Then the "jailhouse" testamony was diregarded when the entire DA case was base on "jailhouse" testamony. Moverover, the stupid stupid stuip jury thinks that the lair con-man "got nothing out of it"??? WRONG - of course you get a lot out of "working with the DA" when probation time comes up. THIS IS BS!!! is there a way we can help Jim expose this unjustice????

    David (Orlando)

  48. Hey David of Orlando: If you and anyone like you expects to help this criminal you need to improve your spelling and sentence structure. The way you present your position beckons to someone that just wants to rant and rave. Good luck, Jim Barton is VERY guilty and every level of his appeals has stated such.

  49. It's kind of mean to pick on people's spelling - but these folks write to the blog every time they get the television version of what happened. Obviously the courtroom version is different... or Barton would be out.

    1. Can you state specifically what was different between what happened at the trial and what was shown on the TV show? To simply state, "he got convicted so the TV show musn't have shown everything relevant that happened at trial", is beyond stupid. Please state the specific differences rather than biased 'logic'. If there were significant differences, let's here them.

  50. AnonymousJune 19, 2011

    Jim Barton is innocent, but that is my opinion. What I do know for sure is that he should never have spent a day in jail. The lost appeals in my mind do not entrench that he is guilty, it has more to do with his lawyers not being able to convince the appeals judges that there is a technical, legal error or some sort of contravening of the constitution. Is there anyone out there legally trained, unlike me, who would like to comment on the definition and meaning of statements against penal interest (hearsay exception). This is the crucial bit that allowed Henson's hearsay testimony, because such an act is deemed especially trustworthy (case law Roberts). I'm curious as to how Phelps disclosure to Henson could have been a staement aginst penal interest, when in fact Henson has stated that Phelps had already asked to help him with the burglary. Henson could not follow through, because he was in county jail on the day. It would only be natural for them to talk again about how the robbery went, especially as Henson read about the murder a few days later. Having been involved already in some preparations or discussions about the planned crime takes away the whole salience of the supposed incriminating act of diclosure aginst penal interest, or at least seriously diminishes it. I think the original judge should have directed the jury on this point, regardless if the defense did not. In this case is this not a 'harmless' error (ie federal evidence rule 103 & Chapman vs. California)seriously affecting the outcome of the trial?. At the very least he should have assigned a lesser weight to this evidence.
    Nilla, Perth Australia

  51. AnonymousJune 19, 2011

    He's guilty.

    1. He was found guilty, we know that. Or are you saying he is actually guilty? If that's what you're saying, how did you come to that conclusion?

  52. Why would he want to call for help when he's already on the line having called for help? How well did he know Phelps? Maybe not so well and he thought his name was Phelp? I can't understand why the crim that testified his cousin or was it his brother was involved wasn't considered a suspect in the murder...

  53. Innocent. Entirely. Still an unknown DNA donor out there. Immense monetary investment in property. Motive ridiculous.

  54. Innocent, in my opinion. At least reasonable doubt.

    Anonymous 2 above asks: "Why would he want to call for help when he's already on the line having called for help?"

    Um, because the call had lasted 9 minutes by that point? Because he was a police officer and could possible get help faster at that point by calling the PD station directly? Please note that less throughout the call he kept repeating, with mounting frustration, that he needed help!

    About halfway through the 911 call:

    "Barton calls to his dogs, then to dispatcher, 'She's not breathing. She's been gone awhile . . . Get me some help out here. . . . She's gone, she's gone.' "

  55. This man is not guilty! He needs to be set free!! Those jurors have got to be a bunch of idiots to think that Jim Barton murdered his wife. It is all speculation. He deserves a fair trial.

  56. Not Surfing TodayJune 04, 2012

    I find it incredible that any jury found this man guilty; let alone the Judge refusing to declare a mistrial or the Appeals Court reversing the conviction.
    While I have not read the transcript, it seems to me that something was either missing from the television portrayal or the network in that Ohio County had clear intention to remove Barton from the daily scene.
    Something is definitely awry.

  57. Ok just saw the case on 48 hours on id their saying that barton ask phelps to ONLY SCARE his wife if that was so WHY did the man RAPE his wife n bite her if the plan was to only scare her thats bullshit barton IS NOT GUILTY he deserves another trial fuck wat yall think

  58. AnonymousJune 05, 2012

    Ok i just watch the case in the 48 hours id and their are sayin that barton hired phelps to ONLY SCARE his wife so they cAn so if that was WHY did they RAPE his wife n bite her if the plan was to only scare her im sure that phelps brother lied on that stAnd for the prosecutors They should give barton another trial and fair because i know barton is NOT GUILTY

  59. AnonymousJuly 26, 2012

    I agree that from what was presented on the TV show that he sounds innocent.

    Where was the DNA found, on the bite marks? If so, if it doesn't match Barton's, shouldn't that exclude him?

  60. I had the pleasure of meeting Jim due to an incident where my son was wrongfully convicted of a crime. My son now considers Jim a close friend and has spoke numerous times that he would trust Jim with anything including his wife and children knowing that Jim like him would give anything to protect weaker people. Despite what you may think about this case please pray for Jim and his wife they are good people and deserve a fair trial with a honest court if there is such a court.

  61. Reasonable Doubt !!!!!!!!!

    Goodness me...

  62. Absolutely do not believe this guy is guilty. The "Phelps" utterance was ludicrous.

  63. Having watched the 48hrs program & the researched all available material on the Internet, there is no doubt in my mind that Jim barton's case should be referred to the Innocence Project, now celebrating 20yrs of brilliant work, leading to over 300 exonerations. Barry Scheck is the best known face of the project which began at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law School of Law, Yeshiva University. Barton's defense lawyers should refer his case urgently! There are so many issues likely to have caused wrongful conviction in this case, ranging from the lack of physical evidence, reliance on a career criminal jailhouse witness giving hearsay evidence in a conspiracy case that he had involvement with initially. There are several possible motives for him to have given false testimony & that testimony has been debunked by 3 further witnesses who witnessed him denying that Barton had any involvement in the murder. In addition, I am a Forensic Psychiatrist in Australia & anyone who has been subject to hypnosis regarding a case that they are being considered for as a witness, would be excluded from giving evidence because information derived from hypnosis or appearing any time after hypnosis, is considered tainted & is inadmissible! The criminal witness should never have been allowed to testify if the hypnosis was related to this case in any way. I am a member of the International Society of Hypnosis & can tell readers that my training included specific warnings to NEVER hypnotise anyone likely to be a witness in a case, about any aspect of the case whatsoever. Hypnotically recalled memories are UNRELIABLE!! Lastly, this case has holes in it so huge that the Queen Mary could sail through them! Lie Detectors are NOT accurate & that's why they're results are inadmissible! Was this jury told that Barton failed the Polygraph? If so, that will have prejudiced Barton & should be appealed! The scientific studies of Polygraphs are accompanied by scathing condemnation of their use & the same is true for Voice Stress analysis......UNRELIABLE! Believe me people, The Innocence Project would make minced meat of this conviction! Tell someone over there in the U.S. to contact the Project asap!! DR JEROME GELB, PSYCHIATRIST, MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA.

  64. Usually when there are this many comments in favor of someone, they are innocent. Chris Wilson also has huge support and he is also innocent. They wanted him out of the police force because he was such a good guy. This loving couple was doing all the right things, doing their noble duty by raising horses, not sleeping around, doing his job well. 1) Even if guilty which he isn't, he never hired anyone to KILL her so why involuntary manslaughter? 2) Why burglary? Stealing his own things??? Police officers are saturnine which unfortunately also has to do with BAD LUCK which is why his saying "for help" sounded so much like "phelp." Also being so tall can be considered a sign of bad luck if he got bullied when younger. He is guilty of being unlucky, which is not a crime. Let's just keep going and if enough people want him released, it will happen. We pay taxes and not to have innocent people go to jail. This poor man lost his wife and his horses, why is he still suffering? I think so many people expressing outrage is slightly better than 12 hillbillies who couldn't be bothered to admit they were wrong. I would say "they" too. Who the heck says "he, she, or they." That's just his police training... they means the neutral "he, she, or they." The same way that if you don't know if a woman or man you say they. 'They' is neutral. This is just soooo wrong. Let this guy go he has suffered enough.

  65. First let me say I believe Baton is innocent.

    Second, hearsay can be admissible under an exception rule. The decedent is obviously unavailable, and with proper handling, a Judge can allow hearsay in cases. Having said that, I believe the hearsay testimony is a pack of lies of the day.

    I would also point out that the Judges that you can vote in or out should be of utmost concern to all citizens. Check them out before you mark their names. Some Judges are appointed ... but the ones you can vote on need to be vetted completely.

    Ryan Ferguson spent some ten years in jail for a crime that he had not committed ... the case they brought against him was full of lies and legal manipulation. He is free now and suing. When Missouri must pay out settlements for their employees failures to achieve a CLEAN judicial outcome ... in the end, the public ends up paying for their folly.

  66. AnonymousJuly 26, 2014

    This man needs a fair and unbiased trial...........why hasn't he had a new trial? This is the question that remains in my mind.......with so much reasonable doubt! With aggressive prosecution and a known criminal as the main witness, which was debunked by 3 other inmates involved with the witness, the question remains? Why hasn't Mr. Barton received his judicial right to a fair trial? Our judicial system has failed so many times, in many ways, not only to true victims, but as to the innocently convicted! Our men and women have fought and died for our freedoms, and for this injustice to continue to take place is a shame all Americans wear on there faces. I would hope that others will help this cause to see that justice is done and not just have a blind eye to justice.

  67. I agree that Jim Barton is innocent. He was slurring the words "for help" together. And the noise of what the prosecution says of him cleaning the crime scene, is that he was going through making sure no one was hiding in the house.

    I mean, he was a police officer and even though he was off duty that sounds like something he would do. That 911 operator wasn't getting him any help and he was going to call someone else.

    Even if he is guilty, which I don't think he is, there's not enough evidence to prove it. He should get a new trial. He is innocent.

  68. I actually ran into the case not from the 48 hours episode but an old episode of Forensic Files and I immediately yelled at my TV "They Convicted Him Based on That!!"

    The 48 hours episode makes it work when I looked it up. I wish I could find a way of contacting either him or his lawyer to give my support.

  69. I actually know this case very well. I have watched all of the crime shows on the case and done the research. And I am actually a family member of the alleged, deceased killer. I do not believe he was a killer at all. The brother who named him is his half brother, who has been in and out of jail for many years. During the time of the murder, Will and his half brother were actually estranged. The half brother, Gary, actually has many convictions for burglary. When he named Will as the alleged killer, he was all ready back in jail on another charge. In my personal opinion based on research and family statements, Will was innocent. And of course he is no longer alive to defend himself. I think the actual murder was Gary himself. I believe he broke in and intended to burglarize the home. However, he was spooked by Vicki being home and killed her. As for Barton, I am unsure if he played a role or not in the crime. I have mixed feelings on it. But I would like to clarify that I do not believe Will was actually involved in the murder. I think Gary was trying to avoid more serious charges, so he named his dead half brother. At the time, Will had just lost his job, had two small children, and a strained marriage. I think he took the easy way out, in a sense, by committing suicide. I don't think it was related to the case. I want to clear Will's name since he is unable to do it for himself. Also, to this day, Gary is STILL picking up charges, and he is in and out of jail.


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