Saturday, January 14, 2017

Pennsylvania: Justin Bartlett beat his ex-girlfriend with a baseball bat. He killed his friend's cat by setting it on fire and burning it to death. No one seems surprised that he's now accused of stabbing Linda McGinnis to death.

PENNSYLVANIA -- Justin Bartlett's criminal record points to a violent history: A one-time girlfriend accused him of beating her with a baseball bat, and he served time for torching a former friend's cat.

Bartlett's violent past has come under scrutiny because the 25-year-old Brackenridge man is charged with another more horrendous act — murdering a neighbor.

Bartlett will be returned to Pennsylvania from West Virginia, where he was arrested more than a week ago, to face charges in the stabbing death of Linda K. McGinnis.

Bartlett decided Tuesday not to fight extradition. It was not immediately known when he will be returned to the state.

Details of Bartlett's violent past demonstrate a pattern of behavior associated with someone who acts impulsively and doesn't care, according to one behavioral expert who hasn't examined him. Bartlett spent time in jail for setting a friend's cat on fire.

“The fact that he's willing to kill an animal like that, in a really horrific manner, suggests that he just doesn't have any appreciation for the sanctity of life,” said Mark Safarik, a former FBI agent and owner of Forensic Behavioral Services Inc.

Police said Bartlett told them he broke into McGinnis's home on Dec. 29 to steal her car because he needed to get to West Virginia to meet up with some women he had met online and flee from an arrest warrant on unrelated charges. He grabbed a steak knife from the sink and stabbed McGinnis to death while she slept, according to a criminal complaint.

Bartlett allegedly told investigators he panicked because McGinnis' dog was growling at him.

Bartlett was tracked to West Virginia by the OnStar security and safety feature on McGinnis' car and arrested there three days after police found her dead in her home.

Police said he told them he didn't mean to kill McGinnis, a woman he called “grandma,” and that she did not deserve what happened to her.

McGinnis would give Bartlett rides to the store, he allegedly told police. Neighbors said they had warned the retired dietary aide not to befriend him because of his violent history, and people who said they had faced his wrath in the past weren't surprised to hear he's accused of murder.

One-time girlfriend Rachel Harnish said she “felt cold” when she heard that Bartlett was accused of killing McGinnis. Harnish, 26, said Bartlett threatened to kill her own family when she filed a protection from abuse order against him in 2013.

That order stemmed from an incident in which Harnish accused Bartlett of biting, hitting, and striking her with a baseball bat.

“He jumped on top of me and hit and bit me,” she said. “Then he went to the hall and got a baseball bat and he was hitting me in the legs. For nothing. He has anger issues.”

Safarik said Bartlett fits the profile of someone who understands that “when he assaults somebody, a girlfriend, when he throws knives at people, when he terrorizes people, that he's going to get reported.

“But from his perspective, he doesn't really care.”


Richard Marvin, formerly of Brackenridge, said he used to be friends with Bartlett. He said the friendship ended when Bartlett and another person allegedly attempted to get into Marvin's home through a bedroom window.

Subsequently, Marvin said, random items would go missing from his house. Eventually, his rear sliding glass door and skylight were brokenMarvin told police he looked around but could find nothing missing except his cat.

As he walked around the house with police, Marvin found his cat, which had been burned to death.

In addition, police said Marvin's cat carrier was melted in the backyard. There were paw prints leading from the carrier to where the dead cat lay.

“I was devastated,” Marvin said. “[Mouse] was like a child to me.”

Police say he admitted to killing the cat by burning it to death. The reason he allegedly gave was because he was upset that he and Marvin had a “falling out.”

In 2014, Bartlett pleaded guilty to a charge of animal cruelty in that case and was sentenced to up to two years in jail and two years of probation.

Marvin said he was fearful of Bartlett following the incident, and feels fortunate that nothing happened to him, especially after hearing the recent allegations against his former friend.

Safarik said that in many cases animal cruelty is associated with criminal and anti-social behavior.

“The fact that he doesn't find any problem with torturing an animal to death suggests that he doesn't respect the lives of animals that, basically, we should be caring for,” Safarik said.

“What's important for him,” Safarik said, “is acting on these impulses.”

(Tribune Live - Jan 10, 2017)


No comments:

Post a Comment