Saturday, April 17, 2004

Former Springboro cop wants charges in '95 slaying dismissed

By Matt Leingang
The Cincinnati Enquirer

LEBANON - The attorney for former Springboro police Lt. Thomas "Jim" Barton, who faces charges related to his wife's 1995 slaying, wants the case dismissed.

John H. Rion of Dayton, Ohio, filed a 12-part motion Friday in Warren County Common Pleas Court seeking to quash the case.

Barton, 48, has pleaded not guilty to two counts of complicity to involuntary manslaughter, two counts of complicity to aggravated burglary and a count of complicity to burglary. He was released from Warren County Jail this week after his new wife posted $55,000 bond.

Vickie Barton was found shot in the head in the bedroom of the couple's farmhouse in rural Franklin Township, hours after having lunch in a park with her husband.

The motion raises questions about the statute of limitations for charging Barton in the 9-year-old crime. In addition, it calls for Warren County Prosecutor Rachel Hutzel to recuse herself from the case.

Hutzel has a conflict of interest because she has told judges and juries that members of the Springboro Police Department are worthy of belief, Rion said. Now she's contradicting herself.

Rion is also seeking to have the case moved out of Warren County.

Hutzel said the statute of limitations has not run out and denied any conflict of interest.

Springboro police officers have served as witnesses in some of her previous cases, but she has never acted as their attorney, Hutzel said.



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