Friday, June 13, 2003

1995 murder probe revived; figurines, other items stolen

By Sheila McLaughlin
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Sketch of driver sought for questioning
LEBANON - Eight years ago, Springboro Lt. Jim Barton made a grim discovery at his small Franklin Township horse farm on Tewart Road.

Just off shift, and less than three hours after he met his wife, Vickie, for lunch at a park with a mutual friend, he found the popular nurse and teacher shot to death in their bedroom.

"I wake up with it every day of my life, virtually every day of my life," Barton said Thursday after a cold-case squad divulged new information in the hope of fresh leads in the unsolved homicide.

Thursday, detectives who reopened the case in April released descriptions of 10 items - including a .22-caliber revolver, a briefcase, police scanner and unique pewter collectible figurines - that were missing after the burglary and slaying on April 11, 1995.

Vickie Barton's is the first homicide to get a second look from the new cold-case squad that operates out of the Warren County Sheriff's Office.

It's the first time authorities have volunteered details in the case since the investigation turned cold within months of the crime.

"We are hoping that because of the unique nature of these particular items, that someone at a garage sale, someone at a flea market or who traded these, may have seen these come up," said Capt. John Newsom, who heads the cold-case squad.

Detectives have been poring through old files and boxes of evidence and re-interviewing witnesses. They are asking anyone with information about the case to call 695-2720 and leave a name and phone number.

"We want justice for Vickie Barton. We want someone brought to justice - whoever was responsible for the commission of the crime," Warren County Prosecutor Rachel Hutzel said.

Police aren't sure whether Vickie Barton's death is linked to an act of kindness she mentioned to her husband earlier in the day, when she filled a gasoline can for a stranded male motorist who appeared at her door.

Sheriff's detectives checked leads about a disabled car seen on northbound Interstate 75 just north of Ohio 122, and released a sketch of the driver, who could be a suspect or witness.

Investigators have theorized that Vickie Barton might have interrupted an intruder who broke in a side door at her home. She was shot multiple times and there were signs of a struggle, police said.

The clues

Detectives in Warren County's cold-case squad are hoping information about the following items taken from Vickie Barton's house on April 11, 1995, will help identify her killer. Anyone with information should call 695-2720.

A Harrington & Richardson (H&R) .22-caliber 9-shot revolver, serial No. AF50987.

A leather briefcase with a button on one of the handles and the inscription, "I Love American Quarter Horses."

A Uniden older-model Bearcat handheld police scanner.

A pewter figurine of an Indian buck skinner sitting inside a 10-inch canoe. The figurine was painted and is titled "Moose Hunt 1700" on the stand.

A 5-inch pewter frontiersman figurine holding a rifle and a hawk.

A painted pewter figurine of a standing Revolutionary War soldier with a musket.

A 3-inch painted pewter figurine on a wooden stand of a Mohawk Indian wearing war paint and holding a rifle and war club in his hand.

A 3-inch pewter figurine of a police officer.

A 5-inch pewter figurine of a nurse.

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