Randolph  County,  Indiana

A  Randolph  County  Area  Newspaper
Not dated
          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.
          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 his jurisdiction.
          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 yesterday.
Contributed by Tam

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