Ex-officer facing 2nd trial pleads guilty in wife’s death

LEBANON, Ohio (AP) — A former Ohio policeman imprisoned for over a decade in his wife’s death before his conviction was overturned has pleaded guilty to charges alleging he hired her killers, though the deal lets him maintain innocence and remain free on probation.

Former Springboro Lt. Thomas “Jim” Barton was scheduled for a new trial Nov. 3, but the 61-year-old entered an Alford plea Thursday on involuntary manslaughter and aggravated burglary charges. That plea means he doesn’t admit guilt but concedes prosecutors had evidence to convict him.

Investigators alleged Vickie Barton was killed in 1995 in a botched burglary that her husband paid to have staged.

His involuntary manslaughter conviction was overturned based on prosecutorial misconduct and questions about witness testimony. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to consider reinstating his conviction.

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