Randolph County, Indiana
A Randolph County
Portland, Ind., Feb. 17. --- Ira Barton, his plot to escape
thwarted, confessed last night that he aided in three bank robberies in Blackford county while he
was sheriff last year.
IRA BARTON, BLACKFORD CO. SHERIFF
CONFESSES CONNECTION WITH BANDITS
His statement halted his trial in Jay circuit court for conspiracy
to rob the First State Bank of Dunkirk last Christmas eve, although he continued to deny a part in that
holdup. State and defense counsel agreed to a one-day recess.
Outside his attorney's office on his way back to jail last night,
Barton drew a blackjack and slugged Deputy Sheriff Tandy Ferguson, then ran down an alley. State
Policeman Ed Storms, answering the deputy's call for help, fired two shots at the fleeing
Barton without hitting him, and recaptured him a block away without a struggle.
Decides to Confess
In solitary confinement at the jail the former sheriff decided to
confess. To the Jay and Blackford county prosecutors he admitted complicity in two robberies of the
Citizens State Bank at Hartford City, seat of Blackford county, on July 8 and Oct. 2, and the holdup of the
First National Bank at Montpelier last Nov. 25.
The charge against Barton in connection with the Dunkirk robbery resulted
from accusations made by three men who were captured by vigilantes. They said the former sheriff
had promised to "clear the town" for their activities. Dunkirk, however, is in Jay county, outside
Barton revealed in his confession that the blackjack he used in his
escape attempt was smubbled to him in the courtroom yesterday by his nephew, Linden Barton. He
asked officials to be lenient on the 22-year-old-youth, saying the boy did not realized the seriousness
of his act.
Details Not Revealed
Officers decided to make public details of the confession, explaining it
involves a number of other persons. Investigation of the pur-[cannot red] conspiracy to rob the banks
resulted in arrest early this year of several alleged co-conspirators.
Barton told the officers he became involved with the bank robbers through
the necessity of meeting heavy expenses incidental to domestic troubles and because his father's farm was faced
with financial difficulty. Barton was divorced last summer.
Authorities of the two counties were undecided early today as to whether
Barton's trial will continue, or whether he will be taken to Hartford City to plead guilty to the robberies he
admitted. The trial started a week ago.
Records of telephone calls on which the state contends Barton assured
the bank robbers that his officers would not interfere with a bank robbery, were introduced at the trial
Contributed by Tam
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