2002-04-18 / Front Page

Convicted coach returns to Middlesex County Police notify residents that Glenn Barker is back

Staff Writer
By charles w. kim

Convicted coach returns to Middlesex County
Police notify residents that Glenn Barker is back

NEW BRUNSWICK — The Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office and several local police agencies are giving notice that a convicted killer has moved back to the county.

Assistant Prosecutor Pete Hamerslag said this week that Glenn Haslam Barker, 43, is now believed to have moved into South River from Jackson, Ocean County. Hamerslag also said Barker is now working in Milltown.

Barker was fired as a basketball coach for the South Brunswick Family YMCA in 1998 after it was learned that he had served nine years in prison for the murder of a 12-year-old Charlottesville, Va., girl in 1982.

"We just knew he moved to South River," Hamerslag said.

According to the press release, Barker now lives in that borough and works in Milltown.

"The South River and Milltown police departments are distributing information (about Barker) in certain areas of the county," the release said.

The release says the information about Barker is purely to make residents aware of his appearance and activities, but states that residents should not interfere with him or his family.

"Any unlawful activity, including harassment, vandalism, threats or assault, will result in arrest and prosecution of the perpetrators," the release warns.

"He has not committed any crimes (here)," Hamerslag said, adding that any action against Barker would "not add to the public’s safety."

"We don’t want to create a witch hunt," Hamerslag said.

A flier providing two pictures of Barker, one of his truck and a description and history of his past crimes is being provided to residents, schools and organizations within two miles of his residence, according to Hamerslag.

Hamerslag said the measure was to be used "as a self-protective means" for residents but is not a formal Megan’s Law notification.

Barker was the second man in Virginia history to be convicted of murder without a body as evidence.

According to Charlotte Police Capt. A.E. Rhodenizeri, Barker was convicted of murdering 12-year-old Katie Worsky in 1982.

Worsky disappeared from the home of a friend where she was spending the night during the summer of 1982.

Rhodenizeri said Barker was the last adult to see her alive and that a pair of Worsky’s underpants were found by police in one of Barker’s drawers.

Barker served nine years of an 18-year sentence for the crime. Worsky’s body has never been recovered.

After his 1992 release, Barker moved to Richmond, Va., where he was a suspect in a double slaying there, according to Richmond Police Capt. Arthur D. Roane.

In a 1998 interview, Roane said Barker remained a suspect in the killing of Cynthia Powers Johnson and her 7-year-old daughter Heather in 1996.

Roane said Barker is believed to have had a relationship with Johnson prior to her death.

"He remains the only suspect," Roane said in the 1998 interview.

Johnson and her daughter were killed in their home before the home was burned, according to police.

Roane said there was no evidence connecting Barker to that case and that any physical evidence was likely destroyed in the fire.

In 1998, Barker moved to Old Bridge and also started to volunteer as a youth basketball coach in South Brunswick.

According to YMCA officials, Barker was well-liked by the parents and children he worked with.

He was eventually hired by the facility to coach on a part-time basis.

During the summer of 1998, the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office learned of Barker’s criminal past and notified local police and the YMCA.

At that time, the organization could not conduct criminal background checks outside of New Jersey and so remained unaware of his past.

YMCA Branch Director David Anderson said then that Barker had lied on his application and that he did not admit to being convicted of a crime.

Barker was fired from his position, and parents of all children on his teams were notified of his past.

Barker, who lived in Old Bridge at the time, moved to Jackson following the coverage of the story in the local press.

Since that incident, several groups working with children have changed their policies to demand an FBI background check as well as a local check.

Hamerslag said the county is working with each of the police agencies to make the notifications.

"The local police are very aware of Mr. Barker," Hamerslag said.

The notice now being distributed to residents contains a description of Barker and information about his past, but Hamerslag said no other personal information about him will be released.

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