Former Heartland Warden Could be Set Free

Former Heartland Warden Could be Set Free
By: Arnold Wyrick

(Mt. Vernon, IL)--Just one day after the 5th District Appellate Court in Mount Vernon overturned William Barham's conviction, he could now be set free. Barham is the former prison warden convicted reckless homicide when the car he was driving crashed, and his passenger -- a friend -- died. The prosecution claims Barham was drunk at the time of the accident.

Barham's attorney Randy Patchett has filed a motion with the court for his client's release in light of the Appellate Courts ruling. Now the Johnson County prosecutor Alan McIntyre says he's not about to let his hard work in the original case, be swept aside by Justice Gordon Maag of the 5th District Appellate Court.

"Brian Trampley and I both refuse to sit back and allow a killer to be freed by a decision which reeks of big city politics, and government patronage," says Assistant State's Attorney McIntyre. " Justice Gordon Maag's opinion will be appealed to the Illinois Supreme Court," McIntyre said.

The prosecutors are also hopeful that the Illinois Supreme Court will have a different view of the case. "It is our hope that the Supreme Court will be able to ignore the political ramifications in the case, and deliver a fair and well reasoned opinion, that will restore the public's confidence in the court system," said McIntyre.

The Appellate court justices did decide that Barham's blood alcohol level had not been sufficiently proved during the original trial, and that it could not be used to determine Barham's guilt.

During Barham's bench trial following the fatal automobile accident on October 14th 2000, that left Jerry Isom dead, William Barham was convicted of two counts of reckless homicide and sentenced to 4 years in prison by Johnson County Circuit Judge Micheal Henshaw.

But now Barham may not have to serve his time, and may get to come home while the legal wrangling in his case continues. "The public confidence in the integrity of the judicial system is shaken to it's foundation, with such an outrageous opinion, that ignores common sense, logic, and existing law," says McIntyre.