The Ithaca man charged with murder for allegedly shooting and running over a UPS driver in a Walmart parking lot said this week he believes he assassinated President-elect Donald Trump.
Justin Barkley, 38, accused of murdering William Schumacher, 52, of Candor on Dec. 8, attempted to plead guilty to the charge on Monday in Tompkins County Court but Judge John C. Rowley declined to accept the plea after Barkley claimed he killed Trump, according to The Ithaca Voice.
“I shot and killed Donald Trump purposely, intentionally and very proudly,” Barkley said, according to The Voice.
“I went there to purposely shoot and kill him and put him down,” he said, later telling Rowley that he did not agree that he had mistaken Schumacher, who was wearing a UPS uniform, for Trump.
Assistant District Attorney Eliza Filipowski requested that Barkley’s mental state be examined by psychiatrists to see if he is competent to stand trial, The Voice reported.
Barkley previously admitted to shooting a man in the chest with a .30-06 caliber rifle. He also “stated that he had intentionally driven over the body of the victim and spun his tires, before subsequently being involved in a brief pursuit with the police behind him.”
When Barkley allegedly pulled into the driveway of his Dryden Road home, police say he fired a shot at officers who were pursuing him. In the complaint, Barkley describes that shot as a “sound shot” intended “to prevent the police officers from exiting their patrol vehicles.” The Voice reported that Barkley has also been charged with menacing a police officer or peace officer — a felony.
Police took Barkley into custody shortly before 10 a.m. when he walked out of his front door after negotiators used a robot to safely communicate with him.
Witnesses had previously told The Sun at the scene of the murder that a white man in a black truck had calmly shot and then run over the UPS driver, later identified as Schumacher.
John Thorna, of Newfield, said he heard a single gunshot and looked up to see a UPS driver fall to the ground about 200 feet from Walmart. He said he hadn’t heard any argument or shouting before the gunshot.
“A guy was sitting in his truck, and all I heard was a gunshot and looked up, saw the guy fall, and then the guy in the truck backed up, pulled out, ran him over and took off,” he said.
The victim was “walking out of the store and the other guy seemed like he was in the truck waiting for him,” Thorna added.
Barkley said he knew where Trump would be on the night of the murder and had camped out in the parking lot planning to assassinate him, The Voice reported.
Barkley is currently being held in Tompkins County Jail without bail. His next court appearance is Jan. 6 at 2 p.m.
Barkley’s attorney, James Baker, could not immediately be reached on Wednesday.