Attorneys for a failed Oklahoma gubernatorial candidate released two videos showing his shooting of a process server that raise questions about his claims of self-defense.
Christopher Jonathan Barnett has been charged with threatening an act of violence and one count of assault and battery with a deadly weapon in two separate incidents last week, reported the Tulsa World.
The 36-year-old Barnett allegedly posted a threat on the website for Transparency for Oklahoma group he operates, which describes in highly specific detail how to “take down” the University of Tulsa with a supposedly “hypothetical” threat intended to “drive the left crazy.”
That came one day after the former Republican candidate shot a process server who was delivering legal papers to his home, which Barnett has claimed was in self-defense.
Barnett told KOKI-TV the process server drew a weapon and tried to break into his home, but videos released by defense attorneys appear to show otherwise.
Neither surveillance video has audio, but one clip shows the process server talking at the front door, and at one point he leans in as if to listen more closely.
About 40 seconds into the clip, the process server walks away from the door, but stops and turns around while still standing in Barnett’s yard.
A shot is fired at the process server about 51 seconds into the video, while the court employee is standing in the yard.
Barnett’s husband, Trey Barnett, told the court Monday at a bond hearing the videos had been altered to remove evidence that the process server tried to lure the former GOP candidate from their house.
Prosecutors told the newspaper the videos defense attorney Brendan McHugh had provided to the media was the same as the videos shown to Judge April Seibert, who set bond at $1 million.
Assistant District Attorney Mark Collier also said the process server had audio recordings of the encounter that match what was shown on the video.
A probable cause affidavit accuses Barnett of searching Google to ask, “Can you legally shoot a process server?”
But Trey Barnett said that search was related to a previous altercation with another process server, although police said they had also found evidence that Chris Barnett had once said the only good process server was a dead one.
Barnett finished third out of 10 candidates in last year’s Republican gubernatorial primary, with 5,212 votes, and intends to challenge Sen. Jim Inhofe, whose name he misspelled in a statement, next year in the GOP primary.