A couple of weeks ago, my San Francisco RWA chapter had a fabo crime panel as our guest speakers. We had a Deputy Coroner, a lady Inspector/Sergeant: Homicide Detail SFPD, an Alameda County DDA who when I grow up I want to be just like her, and a forensic anthropologist who amongst her many career endeavors, managed the body farm in Tennessee. (snicker, it was kind of funny when my gf sitting next me whispered, “What’s a body farm?” heh, you shoulda seen her face when I told her, and then our guest elaborated. There was a slight gagging sound coming from my friend’s direction. I didn’t want to look, she would have seen my snerky smile. Ah, yes, it’s the little things these days).
But, I digress.
What I loved most about this panel was their frank, humorous POV. (and yes, one must keep the humor in the face of death). You could feel the natural camaraderie amongst the group.
One of the things our guest coroner told us was that there have been cases when he has performed an autopsy and discovered a pre-existing condition that ultimately lead to the cause of death ie. a wound inflicted years previous in the commission of a crime, and therefore murder charges are sometimes issued for the perpetrator of the original wound.
One of the SFARWA members who attended the meeting alerted me to this article.
New Charges Considered in 1966 Shooting
Posted: 2007-08-23 04:09:48
Filed Under: Nation News
PHILADELPHIA (Aug. 23) – A Philadelphia policeman shot while on duty four decades ago died of his injuries this week, raising the possibility of a homicide charge against a man who already served a prison sentence for the shooting, authorities said.
Philadelphia Police Department / AP
Walter T. Barclay, a rookie officer, was gunned down 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 Sunday at age 64.
William J. Barnes, now 71, was sentenced to a 10- to 20-year term in the shooting.
Chief Inspector of Detectives Joseph Fox said Tuesday that the Bucks County coroner had ruled Barclay’s death a homicide stemming from complications from the shooting. Police are talking with prosecutors to decide whether Barnes should now be charged with murder in the case, he said…
…The District Attorney’s Office issued a short statement Tuesday, saying only, “We intend to review all of the evidence before making a decision in this case.” Prosecutors would not elaborate.
Lawyers asked about the case said prosecutors would be on solid legal ground to charge Barnes, but that proving the case would be challenging.
“Complications from a shooting 30 or 40 years ago don’t take 30 or 40 years to surface,” said Jeffrey Lindy, a former federal prosecutor now working as a defense lawyer. “A medical expert could say it could be from this or it could be from that.”
Barclay’s sister, Rosalyn Harrison, said her brother suffered “horribly” after the shooting.
“You have no idea what a hard time he had,” she said.
Now this brings me to my question: Based on what we have here and what the prosecuting and defense attorneys are pontificating, do you think the perpetrator should be charged with Murder? And in this case it would be Capital Murder, because it involves the death of an on duty police officer. In some states Capital Murder goes hand and hand with the death penalty.