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I don't plan to live very much longer, just long enough to kill as many of the people that greedily sought my destruction.
Barton

Mark Orrin Barton was a spree killer and family annihilator-turned-workplace shooter who on July 29, 1999, murdered his family of three before going on a shooting spree that killed nine more people and injured thirteen others before ending with his suicide.

Background[]

Barton was born on April 2, 1955, as the only child to Truman and Gladys Barton, the former of whom worked for the U.S. Air Force. His parents were stationed in Germany at the time due to Truman's job. He lived in Europe for most of his childhood, until the family moved to Sumter, South Carolina. Intelligent but distant emotionally, Barton was a loner at school, being left out by the other children.

As a teenager, Barton began abusing hallucinogenic drugs and resultantly had several visits to the local hospitals due to accidental overdoses. Attending Clemson University and later the University of South Carolina, Barton committed a robbery in order to pay for his drug abuse; he was caught, charged for the crime, and had to undergo drug and psychiatric therapy. Graduating the University of South Carolina in 1979, Barton moved to Atlanta, Georgia, where he met Debra Spivey, whom he later married. The couple moved to Arkansas after Barton became the president of a manufacturing company; there, they had two children together, named Matthew and Mychelle.

Barton Offices

The office area where Barton worked and later committed the majority of his rampage.

It was at this point that Barton became paranoid and controlling over Debra and their marriage began to experience a downturn as a result. His paranoia also affected his life at the workplace, and he was fired from his position in 1990, leading to a furious outburst that culminated in Barton sabotaging the company's data files. Moving with his family back into Georgia after completing his time in jail for the data file sabotage, Barton started an affair with Leigh Ann Lang, an affair that Debra knew but didn't bother to voice her opinion about.

In 1993, Debra and her mother were bludgeoned to death in a camping trailer and Barton was considered a prime suspect in the double homicide, but the charges against him were dropped. Now a widower, Barton married Leigh Ann in 1995, but the newest marriage was a rocky one, as Barton's mental health began deteriorating. Things became worse when Barton spent his ex-wife's insurance money terribly, losing hundreds of thousands of dollars of personal income while day trading at his current workplaces, Momentum Securities and the All-Tech Investment Group. Workers at both offices had come to nickname Barton as "The Rocket" due to his explosive nature.

The Killing Spree[]

Barton Spree Map

Map denoting the locations of Barton's shooting rampage.

"I am so sorry, I wish I didn't. Words cannot tell the agony. Why did I? I have been dying since October. I wake up at night so afraid, so terrified that I couldn't be that afraid while awake."
-Excerpt from Barton's letter left for authorities

On the night of July 27, 1999, Barton snapped and bludgeoned Leigh Ann to death in her sleep. When morning dawned, he also murdered Matthew and Mychelle, covered them with their blankets, and left notes on their bodies for the police. On July 29, Barton went to the Momentum Securities office in nearby Buckhead, having an appointment there to leave $50,000 in cash. While waiting for the manager, he calmly chatted up several other day traders, all of whom weren't aware he was armed. When the manager still wouldn't return, Barton took out two pistols at around 2:45 p.m. and began a shooting rampage, effectively killing four and wounding several others.

After five minutes of shooting, he then left the office and crossed the street towards the All-Tech Investment Group office, with everyone inside not being aware of the massacre that had just happened several feet away from them. Entering the office, Barton coaxed managers Scott Manspeaker and Breet Doonan into their quarters along with secretary Kathy Van Camp and began shooting again, hitting all three before targeting clients.

Barton Van

Barton's van (top) at the Acworth gas station where he committed suicide.

When Barton fled again, five more were killed and several more were injured, three of them critically. Immediately after the killing spree, authorities began searching throughout the Atlanta area for Barton, and when police arrived at the Barton residence, they found the corpses of his family and the letters left for them. These discoveries shocked the community, which was already reeling from the two office massacres.

Five hours after the rampage, Barton was spotted in Kennesaw, having threatened a girl at a shopping mall, who fled from him and reported what happened. Fleeing in his van, Barton was spotted by a pedestrian who reported the van, which was eventually followed by numerous police cars. Not aware that he was being followed, Barton stopped at a gas station in Acworth, where officers surrounded him. With no way out, he turned one of his guns on himself and committed suicide, ending his rampage. Barton's murder spree has been classified as one of the deadliest rampages in Atlanta's history. Barton was forty-four years old when he died.

Modus Operandi[]

When he killed his family, Barton bludgeoned them with a hammer. During his shooting spree, he shot his victims with four pistols, a .45-caliber Colt 1911A1 handgun, a 9mm Glock 17 handgun, a .22-caliber H&R revolver, and a .25-caliber Raven MP-25 handgun.

Known Victims[]

Barton Family

Barton with his second wife Leigh Ann and his children Matthew and Mychelle.

  • 1993, Cherokee County, Alabama: (possibly; bludgeoned with an unknown blunt instrument; the charges were dropped)
    • Debra Spivey (his first wife)
    • Eloise Spivey (his first mother-in-law)
  • 1999, Georgia:
    • July 27-28, Stockbridge: His family:
      • Leigh Ann Barton, 27 (his second wife; bludgeoned with a hammer as she slept)
      • Matthew David Barton, 11 (his son)
      • Mychelle Elizabeth Barton, 8 (his daughter; also possibly sexually abused prior to the killings, but the charges were dropped)
    • July 29, Buckhead:
      • Four killed and two injured in the Momentum Securities office massacre. They are:
        • Edward Quinn, 58
        • Kevin Dial, 38 (office manager)
        • Russell J. Brown, 42
        • Scott Allyn Webb, 30
        • Brad Schoemehl, 24 (injured; shot three times at point-blank range)
        • Andrew Zaprzala (injured; shot in the side, bullet shattered his ribcage and was lodged inside his body)
      • Five killed and ten injured in the All-Tech Investment Group office massacre. They are:
        • Allen Charles Tenenbaum, 48
        • Dean Delawalla, 52
        • Joseph J. Dessert, 60
        • Jamshid Havash, 45
        • Vadewattee Muralidhara, 44 (student at the office)
        • Brent Doonan, 25 (injured; shot five times with a .45 pistol)
        • Scott Manspeaker, 27 (injured; shot in abdomen and arm)
        • Kathy Van Camp (injured; shot in the face at point-blank range)
        • Fred "Volkhard" Herder, 54 (injured; shot in back)
        • Harry Edward Higginbotham (injured)
        • Yusef Liberzon, 39 (injured; shot in head, was left physically disabled)
        • Charlie N. Williams (injured)
        • Meredith Jody Winitt, 22 (injured; shot in the spine, intestines, and pancreas, was nearly killed by the gunshot)
        • Sang Yoon, 34 (injured; shot in arm)
        • Unnamed 38-year-old woman (injured)
        • Nell Jones (attempted; shot at)
      • Injured one unnamed person at either office massacre.
    • Kennesaw: Ann Greenley, 25 (threatened at a mall; she escaped)

On Criminal Minds[]

  • Season Three
  • Season Four
    • "Normal" - While not directly mentioned or referenced in this episode, Barton appears to have been an inspiration for the episode's unsub, Norman Hill - Both were spree killers and family annihilators who lost family prior to their sprees (Hill's daughter was hit by a car, Barton's first wife and mother-in-law were killed), worked in white-collar positions in corporate financing, emotionally deteriorated into violent outbursts, killed their wives and two children while they slept, suffered great remorse after the familicides, attempted to commit workplace massacres (only Barton succeeded), got into violent altercations afterwards (Hill killed two motorists, while Barton accosted a girl before she fled), and were stopped at the end of police chases (though Hill was apprehended alive, while Barton killed himself).

Sources[]

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