Thursday, August 18, 2005

"A Lion Stalking His Prey"

Photo by Dan DeLong
Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Story by Chris O'Connell
Court TV

MOUNT HOLLY, N.J. - Lester Stuart Barney was like a "lion stalking his prey" as he lay in wait outside his son's day-care facility for his estranged mail-order bride, a prosecutor said Tuesday during opening statements in Barney's murder trial.

Only hours after his wife Alla, a Ukrainian immigrant he met on an online matchmaking service, won custody of their 4-year-old-son Daniel, Barney viciously killed her with a knife, Burlington County Assistant Prosecutor Robert Van Gilst told jurors.

"He comes up behind her, like the predator he is, and attacks Alla from behind. And like that predator, he goes for the throat," Van Gilst said, noting that the victim's wounds point to a surprise attack. "This is was an unprovoked attack by a man with murder in his heart."

Barney, 60, is charged with first-degree murder for Sept. 29, 2003, slaying of Alla Barney, a 26-year-old computer engineer. If convicted, he faces life in prison without parole.

(Story continues here.)

Barney's is the third murder of a "mail-order bride" from the Former Soviet Union that I know of, joining those of 21-year-old Iryna Singerman, who married Ron Singerman at the age of 18 and is believed to have been killed by her 58-year-old lover last month, and Anastasia Solovieva King, an ethnic Russian who left Kyrgyzstan at the age of 18 to marry Indle

Barney's is the third murder of a "mail-order bride" from the Former Soviet Union.

King, then 20 years her senior. King, a Seattle area man, killed Solovieva two years after their marriage, in 2000.

At one time, prosecutors alleged King's accomplice in the murder was his housemate and 21-year-old homosexual lover, a convicted sex criminal, though no mention of this is made in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer article announcing King's 28-year sentence.
King also spent over $50,000 on his divorce to his first "mail-order bride," and had apparently decided to do anything to keep from having to foot such a bill again.

Meanwhile, Iryna Singerman's alleged killer, Brian Cullen, has reportedly fled the country with the 14-year-old boy who had been living with him.

If you know of any other women from the FSU who have been murdered after emigrating to the United States by way of an internet-arranged marriage, please comment here or drop me an email. I'd like to compare the rate of incidence with the national average.

The nation's murder rate dropped slightly last year after rising throughout President Bush's first term in office. Raw numbers won't be released until the fall, but in the past the national murder rate was about .04 per 1,000 people , according to a United Nations survey covering the years 1998-2000. That makes the US rate a little less than half the rate in Ukraine, and one-fifth the rate in Russia (though to be fair, these were terrible years in Russia, what with the collapse of the ruble and all the lawlessness that inspired).

To help supply some other numbers, I can say that in a 1999 report to Congress, the INS estimated that 20,000 women had emigrated to the United States as a "mail-order bride" since 1995. And those numbers can only have gone up since then, as internet usage has become more ubiquitous.