ITHACA, N.Y. — Police have charged a man with second-degree murder after a Candor man was killed in an Ithaca Wal-Mart parking lot Thursday morning.
James Barkley, 38, has been arraigned and is in custody without bail at the Tompkins County Jail.
Police say he shot 52-year-old Candor man William Schumacher and then ran him over before fleeing the area. When police attempted to pull him over, he led them on about a quarter-of-a-mile chase before allegedly firing a gunshot at police in the driveway of his home.
The incidents launched a nearly eight-hour standoff that ended when Barkley gave himself up to police.
The following are seven questions fielded to The Ithaca Voice about the incident over the past few days.
Did the suspect and victim REALLY not know each other?
After interviews with both men's family, friends and co-workers, police confirmed again Monday that there has been no connection found between the two men.
Ithaca Police Officer Jamie Williamson said Monday that there has been, "...nothing uncovered to suggest, even remotely suggest, that they knew each other."
Williamson said police have no evidence that the men argued inside the Wal-Mart or in the parking lot, which is under video surveillance that has been reviewed by investigators. He called the crime an apparent "random act of violence" which he said is "extremely rare."
Williamson said, "We've had one homicide since 2006 and that was Paul Garcia. The next thing you know, is we have two homicides in four months. That's concerning."
Ithaca College student Anthony Nazaire was killed on Aug. 28 during a street brawl at Cornell University. Suspect Nagee Green was taken into custody and charged with second-degree murder, months after the incident.
The two killings are not connected.
Isn't Justin Barkley accused of firing a gunshot at police? And what about the standoff? Isn't he facing charges for that?
Court records state that Barkley confessed to firing a "sound shot" at police officers to stop them from exiting their vehicles as they attempted to take him into custody after pursuing him for about a quarter of a mile when he failed to pull over. The shot contributed to sparking a nearly eight-hour standoff with police.
Acting District Attorney Andrew Bonavia said Friday that there are currently no plans to pursue other charges against Barkley in the local Dryden Town Court. Barkley was, however, arraigned on a second-degree murder charge in Ithaca City Court Thursday and is being held at the Tompkins County Jail with no bail.
Bonavia said, however, that the charges against Barkley could very well change after the case goes before the grand jury. So the indictment against Barkley, if he is in fact indicted, could include more charges.
Did Barkley confess to the crime?
Court documents state that during an interview, "...the defendant stated that he had driven his vehicle to Wal-Mart in the City of Ithaca, and shot a man in the chest with a .30-06 caliber rifle. Barkley also stated that he had intentionally driven over the body of the victim and spun his tires before subsequently being involved in a brief pursuit with police behind him. Barkley stated that he pulled his vehicle into the driveway of his residence, exited his vehicle, and fired a "sound shot" in an effort to prevent police officers from exiting their patrol vehicles."
Police said the confession happened during a recorded interview with Barkley.
Two voluntary witness statements were also attached to the felony complaint.
What was the motive behind the killing?
Officials still have not indicated what the motive for the killing could have possibly been.
Is that picture of Barkley smiling actually his mugshot?
Yes, the photo released by the media, including The Ithaca Voice, shortly after Barkley was taken into custody is his mugshot.
However, there is a second mugshot of Barkley that is now available. In it, he is wearing an orange jumpsuit as opposed to street clothes. Why? An official said the first mugshot was taken when Barkley was initially taken into custody. The second mugshot was taken when he was booked into the Tompkins County Jail (pictured below).
What do we know about Barkley?
According to the news site North County Now, Barkley was the former Massena Wellness Center program director.
Massena is a town of just more than 10,000 people in St. Lawrence County, located almost four hours from Ithaca.
North Country Now reported the following:
“Justin Barkley was not employed by the state of New York at the time of this incident. This former employee was a licensed master social worker from September 2008 until May 2016 at St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center, where his final position was program director of the Massena Wellness Center,” according to Ben Rosen, OMH Public Information Office director. “In May 2016, he voluntarily left St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center for a position with the Office of Children and Family Services.”
He began working at The Office of Children and Family Services’ Finger Lakes Residential Center on May 4 and resigned effective Aug. 8, said Monica Mahaffey, New York State Office of Children & Family Services assistant commissioner for communications.
A search in the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision websitedoes not turn up any felony convictions for Barkley in New York State.
Officer Jamie Williamson said police are not releasing information about Barkley's criminal history, or if he has one, at this time.
Why were some people in the neighborhood evacuated by police while others were permitted to stay in their homes?
People were initially concerned about why some homes in the area were evacuated and others were not, but the reason why that happened is in the details.
The home Barkley holed up in during the standoff is in a neighborhood but it's in a very secluded part of a neighborhood, on a steep hill surrounded almost entirely by a thicket of trees. There is one long driveway that leads to the home, which is the only way to easily get to the residence. On the left side of the driveway is a steep drop-off that leads to the parking lot of the Plantation Bar & Grill at 1285 Dryden Road. On the right side of the driveway is a steep hill will a few small dilapidated structures, such as a destroyed greenhouse.
The yellow one-and-a-half story home is easily more than 1,000 feet from the road and even further from the nearest home.