Judge approves request for mental evaluation of Ellsworth man involved in standoff

Posted Aug. 04, 2014, at 4:14 p.m.
Jeffrey Barnard
Hancock County Jail
Jeffrey Barnard

BANGOR, Maine — The lawyer for an Ellsworth man shot in the face in June after an overnight standoff and exchange of gunfire with police has asked for a mental evaluation to determine if his client is competent to stand trial.

Jeffrey Paul Barnard, 50, was indicted July 17 by the federal grand jury on one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm during the lengthy standoff. Barnard’s attorney, Wayne Foote of Bangor, filed the competency evaluation motion Monday afternoon in U.S. District Court. Shortly after the motion was filed, U.S. Magistrate Judge John Nivison approved it.

“The basis for this motion is that there is reason to believe that the defendant is not competent to stand trial,” Foote’s motion states. “The facts underlying this conclusion were stated on the record at the hearing of July 22, 2014.

“The defendant asks that the evaluation be completed locally rather than at the Bureau of Prisons. His medical condition requires ongoing treatment that would [be] interrupted or unavailable during transportation and evaluation at a [Bureau of Prisons] facility,” according to the motion.

Foote said Monday that the mental evaluation “could take a while.”

“The process is for me to locate a psychologist to do an evaluation,” Foote said. “How long that will take I can’t tell you right now.”

Barnard is being held at Somerset County Jail, his wife, Vicki Barnard, said Monday.

Jeffrey Paul Barnard was scheduled to enter a plea on the federal gun charge on July 22, but the arraignment was delayed until Monday because of his health problems.

Barnard, who used a wheeled walker to enter the courtroom two weeks ago, told Nivison that he was having trouble focusing on what was happening in the courtroom.

“Since I was shot, everything’s a blur,” Barnard told the judge. “My vision is not good. I can’t focus no more. It’s like I’m totally in a daze.”

Barnard was shot by Maine State Police Trooper Scott Duff in the early morning hours of June 1 after a lengthy standoff with police that included Barnard holding a .22-caliber rifle, threatening to blow up his camper with a can of gasoline and throwing a Molotov cocktail, Ellsworth police Lt. Harold Page has said.

“Officers recovered a .22-caliber semi-automatic rifle with a loaded magazine and a round in the chamber” from inside Barnard’s camper, according to the complaint filed June 19 in U.S. District Court by Special Agent Tyler Leighton of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

“They also found 70 rounds of .22-caliber ammunition, spent .22-caliber shell casings and a Molotov cocktail-type explosive device.”

Barnard has a lengthy criminal record that includes federal, Maine and California convictions, as well as prior police standoffs.

The standoff started when the landowner of where the Barnards had their trailer at 303 North St. complained to police at about 8 a.m. May 31 that Barnard had stolen the keys to a tractor. Officers arrived to investigate, and the confrontation with Barnard began immediately, Page said.

If convicted on the federal charge, Barnard faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

 

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