Philadelphia, May 24, 2010: A jury found 73 year old William Barnes not guilty of Murder for the shooting in 1966 of Philadelphia Police Officer Walter Barclay. Officer Barclay was a rookie on the force and only 23 years old when he was shot by Barnes during a robbery attempt. The shooting left Officer Barclay permanently paralyzed from the waist down and in constant pain. He remained in that state and suffered for over 40 years from a variety of ailments as a result of that shooting. Mr. Barclay died in 2007 of blood poisoning which the District Attorney’s office maintains was a direct result of the 1966 shooting.
“Officer Barclay’s life was cut short back in 1966,” says District Attorney Seth Williams. “The bullet may not have immediately killed him, but it definitely took away his life. This was a healthy, vibrant young man only 23 years old, who was suddenly confined to a wheelchair and later died of that injury because of William Barnes cowardly act. ADA Edward Cameron and Bridget Kirn worked hard on this case and both have my utmost respect. This was a difficult case to prosecute both technically and emotionally, and they both did a terrific job. William Barnes may not have been convicted of murder but it doesn’t take away from what he did. Barnes killed a police officer who was just beginning his courageous service for the City of Philadelphia, while it took over 40 years for that death to happen it doesn’t make it any less sad or senseless. Our thoughts are with Officer Barclay’s family.”