This is one of those “local news” stories which probably wouldn’t have made it outside the confines of a couple of counties were it not for an odd twist. A UPS driver was tragically shot and killed in Ithaca, New York a couple of weeks ago, not far from where I live. In a time of rising violent crime rates this is horrible for the victim’s family, but sadly not all that unusual. The strange part came when the suspect was ready and willing to confess to the crime. He informed the police that he had no regrets because he’d done the world a great service by murdering President Elect Donald Trump. (Ithaca Voice)
An Ithaca man accused of killing a UPS driver from Candor said in court Monday afternoon that not only did he believe he shot and killed Donald Trump, but that no evidence could be presented to him to suggest otherwise.
Justin R. Barkley, 38, said during his arraignment and subsequent attempt to plead guilty, “I shot and killed Donald Trump purposely, intentionally and very proudly.”
He told the court that he knew where president elect Donald Trump would be on Dec. 8 and waited in the Ithaca Walmart parking lot kill him.
“I went there to purposely shoot and kill him and put him down,” Barkley said.
So he was familiar with Donald Trump’s schedule and knew that he would be at the Walmart in Ithaca… driving a UPS truck.
There are two possibilities which inevitably come to mind when you hear this story. The first is that Barkley knew precisely what he was doing and either had some animus against the driver or perhaps was looking to rob the delivery truck and the situation spiraled out of control. Then, having been caught in the act, he comes up with some wacky story to begin building an insanity defense. But the results of the initial police investigation seem to indicate that he had no idea who William Schumacher (the driver) was and the two had no shared history. Also, there’s no mention of any packages being stolen or disturbed as you might expect to find in a robbery scenario.
So what about the insanity defense idea? Barkley was offered the chance to either make that case or, at a minimum, admit that he had shot Schumacher in a case of mistaken identity. No dice. The shooter told the judge that he knew precisely what he had done (that being the assassination of the President Elect) and was ready to plead guilty to it. When he was asked if there was any evidence the court might offer to prove that the victim was not Trump and that the next president was in fact still alive, Barkley indicated that there was not.
The judge refused to accept his guilty plea, at least for the time being.
This case has been covered on TV where I live and it may turn out to be a fairly rare instance of something being precisely what it seems. While I tend to cast a dim view on insanity defense pleas in many cases, I’m starting to think that this guy is actually insane. And I mean seriously loony tunes. If he’s that disconnected from reality, perhaps he needs a long stretch in some sort of mental institution rather than just being shipped off to jail. If we did that he’d probably think he was being sent to Mars.
Either way, our thoughts and prayers go out to the Schumacher family and their friends. This was indeed a senseless, tragic murder.