Parole Board Decides To Set 75-Year-Old Man Free After Acquittal On Murder Charges In 1966 Police Shooting

By Cherri Gregg

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Attorneys for the 75-year-old man held in prison for nearly two years after his his acquittal on murder charges in a 1966 police shooting say he could be home in a matter of days. As KYW’s Cherri Gregg reports, the attorneys got word from the parole board earlier Thursday.

“He was very pleased to hear the news of course.”

Philadelphia attorney Sam Silver says William Barnes will be headed home weeks after a federal judge recommended his release.

“We are very hopeful and expect that will be a matter of days, and not weeks or months.”

Barnes has been behind bars since Philadelphia Police Officer Walter Barclay died in 2007 at age 64. Prosecutors claimed Barclay’s death was directly caused by Barnes’ shooting and paralyzing him back in 1966. Barnes served his full sentence for the shooting and even though he was acquitted of the murder charges in 2010, he was kept in prison.

“In effect, we showed was that Barnes was being denied parole because of the homicide charges against him.”

A federal judge recommended Barnes’ release last month, stating “if due process means anything, it means that the state cannot punish an individual for conduct of which he has been acquitted.”

Silver says Barnes is in relatively good health and is looking forward to coming home.

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One Comment

  1. LusciousDC says:

    This makes absolutely no sense. How can you keep someone in prison AFTER they have been acquitted of murder and served their full sentence for the other charges? Sounds to me it’s false imprisonment and this man needs to be paid for every day he served beyond his original sentence. If you aren’t prepared to prove he needs to remain in jail/prison let him go until you get your sh!t together. It’s not his fault that you don’t perform your job well and in a timely manner. Whomever made this decision to keep locked up for additional 2 years should have to spend 2 years in his cell. It’s only fair.. How can they justify this?

  2. Livilla Praetoria says:

    False imprisonment now. Of course it’s Philadelphia. City of Brotherly Love indeed!

  3. Luek says:

    I thought holding someone against their will and not guilty of anything was being kidnapped and falsely imprisoned and is a punishable offense. He should get a good civil settlement for the two years he was illegally held by the state. And the DA who dragged his or her feet in resolving his case should serve time for kidnapping.

  4. L_Warrior says:

    Well he did shoot someone – and it wasn’t unreasonable that they attributed the death to the shooting even if it was decades ago. While I’m glad that due process is finally kicking in, only because I believe in it, I certainly don’t feel bad for the old coot.

    1. Old Salt says:

      There’s something wrong with anyone not feeling bad for anyone who is still incarcerated after being acquitted of the crime for which he is being held. That’s the American way.

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