Ellsworth man shot in standoff ordered to undergo psychiatric evaluation to determine trial competency

Posted Aug. 23, 2014, at 2 p.m.
Jeffrey Paul Barnard
Hancock County Jail Photo
Jeffrey Paul Barnard

BANGOR, Maine — A federal judge Friday ordered an Ellsworth man, who was shot in the face during a standoff with police June 1, to undergo a psychiatric evaluation to determine whether he is competent to stand trial.

Jeffrey Paul Barnard, 50, is charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm. He is being held without bail.

U.S. Magistrate Judge John Nivison ordered the examination be performed at The Brain Clinic of Central Maine, LLC in Augusta before Sept. 26. Robert Riley, a clinical neuropsychologist, will determine whether Barnard “is suffering from a mental disease or defect rendering him mentally incompetent to stand trial to the extent that he is unable to understand the nature and consequences of the proceeding against him or assist properly in his defense.”

Riley testified last year for the prosecution in the murder trial of Roxanne Jeskey, 51, of Bangor. He said Jeskey, sentenced to 50 years in prison for the savage slaying of her husband in the couple’s bathtub three years ago, was competent to stand trial.

Barnard was charged June 19 in federal court in Bangor and was arrested the following day, after he left Eastern Maine Medical Center against his doctor’s advice. He was indicted by a federal grand jury the following month but has not yet been arraigned, according to information posted on the court’s electronic case filing system.

He was scheduled to plead not guilty July 22, but the arraignment was continued after Barnard told Nivison he was having difficulty focusing on what was happening in the courtroom.

“I’m pretty confused, your honor,” Barnard told the judge. “Since I was shot, everything’s a blur. 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 on the morning 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-type explosive device, Ellsworth police Lt. Harold Page 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 in U.S. District Court on June 19 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.”

The standoff was precipitated when police issued a criminal threatening summons to Barnard on May 30 and served him with a protection order, Page has said.

The landowner of 303 North St., where Barnard and his wife lived in a camper, then complained to police at about 8 a.m. May 31 that Barnard had stolen the keys to a tractor. Officers went to the scene to investigate, and the confrontation with Barnard began immediately, Page said.

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

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