A reported illness forced the postponement yesterday of a preliminary hearing for a 71-year-old man charged with murder following the death this summer of a Philadelphia police officer he shot 41 years ago.
William J. Barnes shot Officer Walter T. Barclay Jr. on Nov. 27, 1966, during a burglary in East Oak Lane.
Municipal Judge Bradley Moss told reporters and family members yesterday afternoon that he had been informed by county prison officials that Barnes had been admitted to Frankford Hospital-Torresdale in the morning.
"He [Barnes] stated that he felt dizzy, he had passed out," Moss said.
Moss also said that a hospital emergency-room doctor told him Barnes was "awake, oriented and in alert condition" and that no medical problems had been found but that Barnes will be monitored. The hospital expects Barnes to be discharged today, the judge said.
The shooting left Officer Barclay, then 23, paralyzed from the waist down until his death in August at age 64, Assistant District Attorney Edward Cameron said yesterday after the court proceeding.
"He never walked again," except for a brief attempt, when he tried but soon fell, Cameron said.
Following Barclay's death, prosecutors charged Barnes with homicide. They intend to prove that the officer's death stemmed from the shooting.
The hearing was rescheduled for Friday, but that will largely depend on Barnes' health. If it doesn't happen then, it is to take place Feb. 26.
Cameron said that medical examiner Ian Hood is expected to testify at Friday's hearing that the 1966 shooting led to infections, which ultimately led to Barclay's death.
Cameron also expects to present as witnesses the two other officers - Robert Piatek and Herbert Braun - who were with Barclay on that November day.
Barnes was convicted by a jury in 1968 of attempted murder, assault and battery with intent to murder, resisting arrest and related offenses, Cameron said.
Defense attorney Bobby Hoof said yesterday that Barnes had been sentenced to 10 to 20 years on the charges. After serving 14 years, Barnes was paroled, but then was rearrested on other charges and served another six years, he said.
"He's paid his dues to society," Hoof said, adding that his client's health is not good. He has "had two heart attacks already, and a third one has always been right around the corner," Hoof said.
Barnes' youngest brother, Jimmy, 54, of Northeast Philadelphia, told a reporter yesterday that "it's too broad of an assumption" for prosecutors to say that the shooting 41 years ago led to Barclay's recent death.