Bartie guilty as charged of attempted murder, 8 counts

Updated: Apr. 30, 2021 at 5:49 PM CDT
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - A verdict was reached Friday night, and El Jerico Bartie was found guilty on eight counts of attempted first-degree murder of a police officer.

Calcasieu First Assistant District Attorney Jacob Johnson said after the verdict, that it was by the grace of God and their training that no officer or Bartie were shot.

“Well, thank goodness Bartie was a bad shot. That didn’t mean he didn’t do everything he could to shoot and kill those police officers. Fortunately, their training allowed them to get out of the way in a very, very quick fashion. Their training brought them to cover, allowed them to protect themselves, and a lot of it was, quite frankly, by the grace of God,” said Johnson.

Earlier Friday, Johnson told jurors in closing arguments that Bartie’s intent was to mow down whoever was by the door of the Sulphur hotel where he was hiding out from police.

Johnson disputed Bartie’s previous statements that he did not know there was a warrant out for his arrest; and that he did not know those outside his door were police officers demanding his surrender. According to testimony, some of the officers were yelling back and forth through the wall with Bartie.

The jury began deliberating at 5:40 p.m. Friday and came back with a verdict at 9 p.m.

Bartie stood trial for the second time in connection with a standoff at a Sulphur hotel in 2014. He was charged with eight counts of attempted first-degree murder of a police officer. He was convicted by a judge in his first trial, but an appeal court found insufficient evidence that Bartie understood he was waiving his right to a trial by jury and granted him a new trial.

In her closing arguments, defense attorney Catherine Stagg reminded jurors that Bartie was presumed innocent and discussed the issues of specific intent to kill and reasonable doubt. Stagg suggested Bartie was not laying in wait for police and was about to check out of the hotel when the shooting happened.

Johnson said Bartie didn’t fire as many rounds as he would have, because his two guns malfunctioned. According to evidence, at least 18 rounds were fired by Bartie.

Johnson re-racked the gun in front of the jury, to demonstrate the sound, which officers testified they heard Bartie doing inside the hotel room, during the standoff.

Bartie’s wife was in the hotel room with him and he shot her in the leg. Johnson says Bartie thought his wife had turned him in. When Bartie testified in the first trial, he said shooting his wife was part of a plan to send her to the hospital while he went to jail.

Bartie’s redacted testimony from his first trial was read to jurors. Bartie took the stand in his own defense during the first trial and denied knowing the men in the hall were police, even though video evidence shows they loudly identified themselves. Bartie denied hearing that and denied trying to murder anybody.

In the transcript, he also admitted using PCP the day before the shooting incident at a Sulphur hotel.

Stagg told jurors she feels Bartie was too high to formulate specific intent to kill and pointed out various bullet holes in pictures, which she argued show he did not intend to shoot anyone because they were so low to the floor.

Bartie’s sentencing is scheduled for June 21 when the state hopes to have him declared a habitual offender and receive enhanced sentencing. Johnson says Bartie was previously convicted of four felonies and should therefore be treated as a habitual offender.

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