Criminal charge 40 years delayed for cop shooting

Prosecutors are considering charging a man 40 years after he shoot an officer who died at 64.

PHILADELPHIA — A Philadelphia policeman shot while on duty four decades ago died of his injuries this week, raising the possibility of a homicide charge against a man who already served a prison sentence for the shooting, authorities said.

Walter T. Barclay, a rookie officer, was gunned down Nov. 27, 1966, while trying to stop the burglary of a beauty shop in the city’s East Oak Lane section. Barclay, who was left a paraplegic, died Sunday at age 64.

William J. Barnes, now 71, was sentenced to a 10- to 20-year term in the shooting.

Chief Inspector of Detectives Joseph Fox said Tuesday that the Bucks County coroner had ruled Barclay’s death a homicide stemming from complications from the shooting. Police are talking with prosecutors to decide whether Barnes should now be charged with murder in the case,

It will be an interesting case to watch because technically such charges are possible but the jury is likely to have considerable question over the delayed responsibility for a person who died in his 60s.