Court record says slain man had violent history

February 17, 1997


Staff Writer, Waynesboro

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - A history of physical abuse and threats plagued the relationship between Christine Pittman and her boyfriend, William Henry Barbour Jr., who was shot to death Sunday morning, according to court records and Pittman's mother.

Barbour, 34, was shot multiple times after he broke in the front door of Pittman's split-level home at 1628 Magnolia Court in Guilford Township at 6:44 a.m. Sunday, Pennsylvania State Police said Monday.

The identity of the person who pulled the trigger will not be released until forensic testing is completed, said Cpl. Michael Ruda, crime supervisor at the state police barracks in Chambersburg.


No one has been charged in the slaying.

Pittman, 26, had filed a protection from abuse order against Barbour in August after he was charged with harassment and simple assault, according to Franklin County Court records.

The order prohibited Barbour from having contact with Pittman and from harassing her and her relatives.

Barbour was sentenced to 90 days in Franklin County Prison in October, 1996, for violating the protection order three times, court records said.

On Oct. 1, Barbour telephoned Pittman's mother and threatened to kill her daughter, court records said. Emma Pittman recalled the conversation in court documents: "Mrs. Pittman, this is Bill. I'm going to kill your daughter and then I'm going to kill myself. You and Mr. Pittman will have to raise the kids; if I can't raise the kids, she won't raise the kids."

According to the protection from abuse order, Barbour was awarded the right to visit his three children every Sunday from 2 to 6 p.m., supervised by Emma Pittman in her home. He was ordered not to consume any alcohol prior to or during the visits, court records show.

After his release from jail in January, Barbour violated the order on Jan. 18 by contacting Pittman three times and asking questions about their three children and her boyfriend, Patrick Atkinson, court records said.

He contacted Pittman again on Jan. 19 and asked to speak to the boyfriend and then called her mother at her home, court records show.

Emma Pittman told police that Barbour asked to see the children and he told her that if anything happened to her daughter not to blame him or his family, court records said.

Barbour was charged with indirect criminal contempt for the violations, but Pittman dropped the order and the charge three weeks ago "because she thinks he has made a change in his life," court records show.

Pittman also asked the Franklin County district attorney's office to drop the harassment and assault charges.

Pittman filed the first protection from abuse order against Barbour in May 1993, alleging verbal and physical abuse of her and the children, court records said.

Listed on the order are several incidents of alleged physical abuse dating back to November 1992, including throwing one of the children on a bed, pushing Pittman into a stove where water was boiling, and threats of killing Pittman and the children.

"He (Barbour) was a very nice person when he wasn't drinking," Emma Pittman said.

Pittman's mother said that her three grandchildren - her daughter's and Barbour's children - were staying at her Chambersburg home at the time of the shooting.

The children, ranging in ages from 5 to 2, have not been told of the shooting, Emma Pittman said. She and her husband, James, are keeping the children "for awhile," she said.

Pittman's mother said she doesn't know the details of the shooting. She said she knew something was going on at her daughter's home Sunday morning because she heard it on her monitor.

Pittman's sister drove her to their parents' home later that day.

"She was more or less in shock," said Emma Pittman, who would not reveal the whereabouts of her daughter.

Pittman was not physically harmed in the shooting, her mother said.

Christine Pittman is a native of Chambersburg and attended Chambersburg Senior High School. She is currently unemployed, according to her mother.

Barbour also is a native of Chambersburg and graduated from Chambersburg Senior High School. He had worked at Hennessy Products Inc. in Chambersburg, said his father, William Barbour Sr.

Pittman and Barbour met about six years ago but never married, Pittman's mother said. She said the couple had problems "off and on" throughout their relationship.

Prior to his relationship with Pittman, an a former girlfriend, Michele Matthews, of Chambersburg, filed a protection from abuse order against Barbour in October 1990, court records show.

In the order, Matthews alleged that Barbour scratched her car and slashed her tires in September 1990.

The order lists several alleged incidents is which Barbour followed Matthews in her car, threatened her and physically abused her.

The Herald-Mail Articles