Bail denied for man charged in death of police officer
By Inquirer staff
A judge has denied bail for William J. Barnes, 71, who shot a Philadelphia police officer four decades ago.
Judge James DeLeon did agree to have Barnes kept in the medical unit of Graterford Prison and away from the general prison population.
Officer Walter T. Barclay was shot Nov. 27, 1966, when he and another officer interrupted a predawn burglary at a beauty shop in East Oak Lane. One bullet pierced his spine and paralyzed him. He died last month at age 64.
Barnes was charged with murder earlier this month after Barclay's death.
In recent weeks, the case has become shrouded in controversy. Relatives who saw Barclay suffer throughout his life say Barnes must be held accountable. Some who know Barnes say he has changed, has served his time, and should be free.
In the 1960s Barnes was arrested, convicted, and sentenced by Judge Herbert Levin to 10 to 20 years in prison for the shooting and related offenses. The state Department of Corrections said Barnes had served all 20 years, but District Atorney Lynne Abraham said earlier this month that Barnes had served 15 years of a 7 1/2- to 15-year sentence for the shooting of Barclay.
Altogether, she said, Barnes has spent 48 of his 71 years behind bars, at the end undergoing what he described as a transformation that turned him away from a life of crime.
The case was revived Aug. 19, when Barclay died at a hospital in Bucks County and the county coroner ruled the death a homicide.