Gunbarrel man convicted of attempted murder
June 30, 2017
A trial involving the shooting of one Gunbarrel man in May 2016 by another Gunbarrel resident has resulted in an attempted murder conviction for Jon Barbour.
The case was heard in Boulder District Court with Karen Peters and Lisa Saccomano of the District Attorney’s office handling the prosecution. Judge Maria Berkenkotter presided over the case.
“We’re very pleased with the verdict,” Peters said. “Our jury was very attentive, asked a lot of questions throughout the trial and returned a just verdict for the victim.
“Of course it’s important for our office that with a serious crime like this with gun violence to have justice be served for the victim.”
Barbour stood trial for the shooting of his neighbor, Jeffrey Browning, over what was described as an argument about Browning feeding squirrels in the neighborhood.
Defense attorney David Sanderson argued that Browning assaulted Barbour first, that the shooting was self-defense and that the gun went off accidentally in a struggle over the weapon.
Prosecutors argued that the defendant’s version was impossible as Browning was shot in his back just above the buttocks.
“The defense basically said that the victim attacked him (Barbour) and then as he turned with the gun with the safety off, the gun went off during a tug of war struggle,” Peters said. “Our position was that he just point-blank shot the victim in the back as he was walking away.
“I don’t know what the jury thought about that. But from our perspective that was a very important fact.”
According to records, the dispute began when Barbour put up signs explaining that feeding the squirrels made him feel closer to his deceased parents, all signed “The Squirrel Guy.”
When Barbour observed Browning taking down the signs, the altercation escalated to the shooting. There were no witnesses, so jurors had to decide which version of the story was more likely.
The mandatory minimum for attempted murder in the state of Colorado is 10 years, with a maximum of 32 years. Barbour will also have a mandatory five years of parole as part of his sentence.
Barbour was remanded to the Boulder County Sheriff for custody after the verdict. The sentencing hearing will be held at 9 a.m. on Aug. 3 at the District Court.
As of press time Barbour’s attorney, David Sanderson, was unavailable for comment.