ITHACA, N.Y. — Jury selection is beginning Monday for Justin Barkley, the man accused of fatally shooting a UPS driver in the parking lot of the Ithaca Wal-Mart last December.
Barkley, 39, is charged with second-degree murder after allegedly shooting and running over William Schumacher on Dec. 8, 2016.
He attempted to plead guilty to murder on Dec. 19, 2016, telling the court, “I shot and killed Donald Trump purposely, intentionally and very proudly.”
He said he knew where Donald Trump, who was resident elect at the time, would be on Dec. 8, 2016 and waited in the Ithaca Wal-mart parking lot kill him.
Related: What went wrong? Ithaca Wal-Mart shooter surrendered gun months before homicide; was in a psychiatric ward at CMC
“I went there to purposely shoot and kill him and put him down,” Barkley said.
After the shooting, Barkley fled in his truck to a home at 1279 Dryden Road where he fired “a sound shot” at two police officers attempting to take him into custody. An approximately eight-hour standoff ensued and Barkley was eventually taken into custody.
He told the court Dec. 19, 2016 that he understood the difference between mistaking a person for being Trump and asserting that he actually killed Trump. When asked if any evidence could be presented to him to suggest he killed a different person, he said, “I would hope not.”
The outlandish claim led to Judge John Rowley to refuse to accept Barkley’s plea and a mental health screening was ordered.
A few weeks later on Jan. 19, he was found not competent to stand trial.
District Attorney Matt Van Houten said at the time, “The standard is, ‘Is he able to assist in his own defense and understand the proceedings against him?’ It’s not, ‘Was he competent at the time of the offense?’ That is a different issue. That’s an issue he could or may not raise at the time of trial.”
Jury selection for high-profile cases usually takes several days at attorneys determine who will be able to give Barkley a fair trial.
Featured Photo: Justin Barkley was led out of the Tompkins County Courthouse in 2017. Photo by Jolene Almendarez/The Ithaca Voice