PHILADELPHIA – A 71-year-old man was charged with murder following the death of a police officer he shot more than four decades ago, a crime for which he has already served a prison term.
William Barnes, 71, was charged two weeks after former Officer Walter T. Barclay died from an infection at the age of 64. The Bucks County Medical Examiner's Officer ruled the death a homicide, saying it stemmed from the gunshot wound Barclay suffered in 1966.
According to court records dated Monday, Barnes has been charged with murder in the case. District Attorney Lynn Abraham had scheduled a news conference for Tuesday morning to discuss the case.
Barclay, a rookie officer, was shot Nov. 27, 1966, while trying to stop the burglary of a beauty shop in the city's East Oak Lane section. Barclay, who was left a paraplegic, died Aug. 19.
Barnes, who served a 10- to 20-year attempted murder sentence, has been living in a halfway house and working at a supermarket.
Several people who have known Barnes in recent years said he has been trying to atone by talking publicly about his regrets about his actions and the lives he ruined.
But Rosalyn Harrison, Barclay's sister, has said Barnes should serve time for murder. She said her brother had problems for decades stemming from the shooting, including pneumonia, bedsores and recurrent infections.
Barclay, however, never expressed bitterness about his fate and only mentioned his shooter once in all those years, she said.
Homicide detectives said Barnes was in custody. It was unclear whether he had an attorney.