Killer's violent history

Steven Linn Barr to be sentenced next week for a November slaying

Steven Linn Barr to be sentenced next week for a November slaying

September 30, 2005|by PEPPER BALLARD


For more than 20 years, Steven Linn Barr has been building up files in local police departments and courts documenting a history of violence toward women.

That history culminated Nov. 15, 2004, when he shot his ex-girlfriend and killed her boyfriend in an alleged jealous rage, according to a thick report filed Tuesday by prosecutors in advance of his sentencing hearing.

Barr, 42, pleaded guilty in Washington County Circuit Court Aug. 1 to charges of first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder and the use of a handgun in a crime of violence.


His plea came on what was to be the first day of a scheduled five-day jury trial.

Barr is to be sentenced Wednesday in Circuit Court. A presentence investigation into his background has been prepared for the hearing, according to court records.

The prosecution's report, filed Tuesday, indicates that it will show at the hearing both charged and uncharged crimes committed by Barr, which "portray a 23 year pattern of disrespect and violence toward women."

The prosecution has said it intends to seek a life sentence without the possibility of parole.

2004 slaying

On Nov. 15, at about 3:30 a.m., after breaking into the garage of his ex-girlfriend, Cathy Myers, and waiting for about four hours until she and her boyfriend, William Grant, fell asleep, Barr made his way to Myers' bedroom in her 12057 Kemps Mill Road home near Williamsport, charging documents state. He opened fire, then followed a wounded Grant into the bathroom, where he shot him in the head at close range three times, killing him, according to the report. Barr chased Myers, who already had been shot, to her front door, shooting her one more time, then fled to his car which was parked nearby, according to the report.

Myers survived the shooting.

According to court records, Barr told his ex-wife the morning of the shootings that Myers was his main target. When told that Grant died and Myers did not, Barr told his ex-wife, "You mean to tell me that I did all this f---in' s--- for nothing," according to the report.

Myers had taken out a protective order against Barr about a month before the attacks, saying that Barr had asked her to go to his house, but when she arrived, he would not let her go, according to court records. He told her he couldn't live without her, and added that his plans were to "put a bullet through (Myers') head, (her) daughters (sic) heads and he was going to kill himself," Myers wrote in her application for the protection order after the Oct. 14 incident.

Prior violence

But Myers, according to the prosecution's report, was not the only woman who has heard such threats from Barr.

Another woman, who is not being identified because of the nature of the charges, flagged down police while nearly naked, after escaping a house where Barr attempted to sodomize her and threaten her in July 1997, according to the report. After a lengthy standoff with police, Barr surrendered. He also surrendered a shotgun and rifle that he had with him in the house, according to charging documents contained in the report.

Barr was arrested in Silver Spring Township, Pa., the same day of Grant's murder, according to published reports.

In November 1999, he threatened to kill his ex-wife while she worked at a grocery store, according to charging documents in the report.

"He advised her she would not leave the store alive and that she had better make peace with her sister because she was going to die," according to charging documents.

Five months before that, Barr choked her with a bath towel, knocking her unconscious, according to the report.

After charges were filed in connection with the Nov. 15 murder and attack, two women came forward to police, telling them of past encounters with Barr, the report states.

One woman said she dated Barr in the 1980s, at which time he allegedly raped, stalked and threatened to kill her. Another woman who came forward said she was allegedly raped by Barr in January 1985 but didn't report it because "date rape" was not a well-known term and she blamed herself for going to his friend's house willingly that night. That woman claimed he had raped her while his friends were in another room, according to the report.

The first charge in the report, a disorderly conduct charge, resulted from a March 20, 1982, South Hagerstown High School dance. Barr, who would have just turned 19 years old, yelled at a girl, called her an obscene name and grabbed her, according to the report.

Barr was charged with fourth-degree sex offense in a Jan. 24, 1986, incident in which he pulled an 18-year-old girl "up by the ankles and held her under his arm," and tried to place his hands into her pantyhose while he was at a friend's house, the report states.

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