Police Report Gives Details On Barton Atlanta Shooting; Suspect Amended His Will Twice Three Days Before Office Shooting Spree — (Associated Press)

SSRI Ed note: Day trader, 45, on Prozac, loses money, shoots wife, 2 kids, kills 9 people at 2 brokerage firms, wounds 13, kills himself.

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The Augusta Chronicle (GA)

September 2, 1999

Author: Associated Press

Mark Barton’s wife was concerned about the money he was losing while day-trading shortly before he shot nine people at two brokerage offices in July, according to a police report.

The report also said several capsules of the anti-depressant drug Prozac were found in Mr. Barton’s minivan after he killed himself when police cornered him following the shooting spree July 29.

In the report, Mr. Barton’s attorney said he changed his will two times in the three days leading up to the shooting.  The first time attorney Joseph Fowler changed the will was three days before the shootings. Mr. Barton asked that Mr. Fowler remove his wife, Leigh Ann, as beneficiary and change it to his two young children.

“He did mention that day, when I asked how he was doing, that he had lost money in trading,” Mr. Fowler told the police.  “I don’t know a lot about that, but he did say that his wife was concerned about the loss of the money. I did the will, he signed it, and left.”

Mr. Barton showed up again three days later, just hours before he opened fire on the brokerage firms, and asked Mr. Fowler to change the will a second time to make his mother the beneficiary of his estate. Mr. Barton also asked that the will provide for his children, who were already dead, be buried next to their deceased mother.

Mr. Barton was suspected in his former wife’s death, but never charged.

The 208-page police file describes the July 29 shootings at Momentum Securities Inc. and All-Tech Investment Group Inc., the two Buckhead brokerages where Mr. Barton had traded since 1998.

The file also includes sketches of both offices after the July shootings and statements made by witnesses, victims and investigators.

Police also found a stun gun and a handcuff key in Mr. Barton’s minivan, which he used to escape the shooting scene.


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SHOOTINGS IN ATLANTA: THE NOTES; ‘There Is No Reason for Me to Lie Now . . . ‘ — (New York Times)

Published: July 31, 1999

Following are excerpts from a letter and the texts of three notes apparently written by Mark O. Barton and left in the Barton home, as read by Chief Jimmy Mercer of the Henry County police and recorded by The New York Times. Mr. Mercer said that the letter was dated July 29, 6:38 A.M., and that he was omitting three telephone numbers of people mentioned at the end of the letter.

The Letter

Leigh Ann is in the master bedroom closet under a blanket. I killed her on Tuesday night. I killed Matthew and Mychelle Wednesday night. There may be similarities between these deaths and the death of my first wife, Debra Spivey. However, I deny killing her and her mother. There is no reason for me to lie now. It just seemed like a quiet way to kill and a relatively painless way to die. There was little pain. All of them were dead in less than five minutes. I hit them with the hammer in their sleep and then put them face-down in the bathtub to make sure they did not wake up in pain, to make sure they were dead.

I’m so sorry. I wish I didn’t. Words cannot tell the agony. Why did I? I have been dying since October. Wake up at night so afraid, so terrified that I couldn’t be that afraid while awake. It has taken its toll. I have come to hate this life and this system of things. I have come to have no hope. I killed the children to exchange them for five minutes of pain or a lifetime of pain. I forced myself to do it to keep them from suffering so much later. No mother, no father, no relatives. The fears of the father are transferred to the son. It was from my father to me and from me to my son. He already had it. And now to be left alone. I had to take him with me.

I killed Leigh Ann because she was one of the main reasons for my demise. . . . I know that Jehovah will take care of all of them in the next life. I’m sure the details don’t matter. There is no excuse, no good reason I am sure no one will understand. If they could I wouldn’t want them to. I just write these things to say why. Please know that I love Leigh Ann, Matthew and Mychelle with all my heart. If Jehovah’s willing I would like to see them all again in the resurrection to have a second chance. I don’t plan to live very much longer, just long enough to kill as many of the people that greedily sought my destruction.

The Notes

I give you my wife Leigh Ann Vanderver Barton, my honey, my precious love. Please take care of her. I will love her forever.

I give you Matthew David Barton, my son, my buddy, my life. Please take care of him.

I give you Mychelle Elizabeth Barton, my daughter, my sweetheart, my life. Please take care of her.

Photo: Chief Jimmy Mercer of the Henry County police displays a copy of a letter left by Mark O. Barton in the middle of his killing rampage. (Associated Press)