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Justice After 41 Years?

By Wyatt Earp | August 22, 2007

It is my sincere hope that Philadelphia District Attorney Lynne Abraham does the right thing by Officer Barclay. The Philadelphia Police Department deserves no less.

CBS 3) PHILADELPHIA – A Philadelphia Police Officer shot in the line of duty more than 40 years ago has died from complications of those wounds. The officer’s death is now being considered a homicide.

Officer Walter Barclay died this past Sunday at a Bucks County nursing home. He was 64.

In 1966, authorities said the then 23-year-old Officer Barclay was shot multiples times by suspect William Barnes. Officer Barclay was responding to the report of a disorderly crowd in the 6600 block of North 5th Street. Barnes was charged and convicted for the crime and was sentenced to a seven to 15 year jail sentence.

Officer Barclay was left partially paralyzed as a result of the shooting. But now prosecutors are deciding if additional murder charges should be brought against Barnes.

“The medical examiner determined that the death was a result of complications stemming from his being shot and their subsequent ruling is that the death is a homicide,” Chief Inspector Joseph Fox said.

Now the District Attorney’s office will decide whether to re-arrest William Barnes, who is now 71 years old. Barnes has an extensive criminal history including robberies and breaking out of jail. He has spent more than half his life behind bars and may be going back. (H/TCBS3)

Unfortunately for Mr. Barnes, there is no statute of limitations on homicide.

Personally, I think Barnes should be charged, even at his advanced age. The fact that the man received a paltry seven to fifteen-year sentence for shooting (and paralyzing) a police officer is despicable. He got off easy. Now, after a life filled with suffering and pain, Officer Barclay succumbed to his injuries. In my opinion, William Barnes should be held accountable.

It is the right thing to do.

(Linked at OTB’s Beltway Traffic Jam.)

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