Saturday, January 18, 2003

Man with history of abuse charged in killing

By Sheila McLaughlin
The Cincinnati Enquirer


WAYNE TWP. - A 46-year-old man who spent years in a Kentucky prison for trying to kill his live-in girlfriend was charged Friday with murder in the shotgun slaying of his wife.

Rocky Lee Barton remained in Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton on Friday recovering from an attempted suicide. Warren County sheriff's detectives filed the homicide charge and one felony count of domestic violence after consulting with prosecutors on Friday.

Kimberli Jo Barton, 44, died in her driveway about 4:14 p.m. Thursday after being shot in the back and shoulder. She was returning to her Bellbrook Road home to retrieve her belongings, planning to move out, said Lt. Jerry Mays, commander of the sheriff's detective squad.

She had left her husband that morning after a domestic dispute, he said.

Mrs. Barton was ambushed as she headed for the house, Lt. Mays said. Mr. Barton appeared with a shotgun and Mrs. Barton was shot in the back as she ran away, he said.

"She fell, and got up, and went around the back of the car. He came around and shot her again," Lt. Mays said.

Then, Mr. Barton walked about five feet and turned the gun on himself. The blast disfigured his face, but he is expected to survive, Lt. Mays said.

The shootings happened in front of Mr. Barton's uncle Larry Barton and Mrs. Barton's 17-year-old daughter, Jamie Reising, who accompanied her mother to the house.

Court records indicate that Mr. Barton has a history of abusing women, stretching from the 1980s through at least two marriages and a relationship with a live-in girlfriend.

On Thursday, Mr. Barton was still wearing a house arrest ankle monitor that he received 16 days before to complete a sentence for hitting Mrs. Barton in September.

Mr. Barton also was convicted of abusing a previous wife in Warren County two years ago. Because of it, he was sent back to Kentucky for violating his parole on attempted murder and theft charges in Richmond, Ky.

Thomas Smith, Madison County commonwealth attorney who prosecuted Mr. Barton in the Kentucky case, said Mr. Barton beat his then girlfriend with a shotgun, tried to strangle her with a telephone cord and stole her car. He was sentenced to about 15 years.

Mr. Barton was released from a Lexington prison Feb. 1, 2002, Kentucky corrections officials said.


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