An Olympic costume coach accused of shooting his student has been acquitted of murder and found guilty of insanity in a case that shocked people wearing high-end clothing.
Michael Barisone, 57, an Olympic rider, said he was defending himself when he shot Lauren Kanarek twice in the chest in August 2019 in Long Valley, NJ, a training ground and farm. Kanarek and his girlfriend were living on the farm, but an argument escalated when Barison and his girlfriend moved into a stable on the property. Barisone claimed that Kanarek tortured him.
Barisone faced two counts of attempted murder and two counts of possession of a firearm for unlawful reasons. A court in Morris County, NJ, found Barisone not guilty of a felony criminal mischief for attempted murder of a first person and for possessing a second weapon. The judges also found Barzonon not guilty of the remaining two counts.
Kanarek’s lawyer, Bruce Nagel, strongly criticized the jury’s decision. Robert J. Carroll, a federal attorney in Morris County, stated in a statement that the results were “disappointing” but “admirable.”
In a two-week trial, Barison’s lawyer, Edward J. Bilinkas, accused Kanarek of mentally assaulting Barisone and causing him to be shot. Bilinkas reports that shortly before the shooting, Kanarek and his girlfriend, Robert Goodwin, attacked Barisone and their dog attacked him. Bilinkas said Kanarek also wrote Barisone’s publications.
A few days before the shooting, Barisone phoned 911 several times, alleging that Kanarek and his girlfriend were squatters and were harassing him. In one instance, Barzone described the conflict as “war. And it will be done away with. ”
Kanarek survived the ordeal, but was hospitalized and underwent major surgery to repair his left lung. After his recovery, Kanarek received numerous TV comments from Barisone’s followers who accused him of shooting and deserving of death.
Barisone’s defense was reinforced by his suspension within the game. Barisone was a rider on the United States dressage team at the 2008 Olympics and coached the Olympians as Allison Brock, one of the riders of the United States team that won bronze at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games.
Kanarek was a reliable newcomer to the dressage and moved with his horses to teach on the Barisone farm in 2018. As part of the arrangement, he and his friend were living in a farmhouse. But when a flood forced Barisone and his girlfriend to move out of the barn, Barisone tried to evict Kanarek and Goodwin from the house to live in, Kanarek told The New York Times in 2019.
Kanarek used Facebook to explain the long-running dispute. Five days before the shooting, Kanarek warned that his life was in danger.
“We are happy with the decision,” Bilinkas, Barisone’s lawyer, said in a statement Friday. “For two and a half years, Michael Barisone has been waiting for him to tell his story and let people know what happened to him, what these people did to him. For the first time, he is in a place where he can heal his life again.”
Mu appearing on Court TV Following the verdict, Nagel, Kanarek’s lawyer, said the verdict was “a violation of justice” and a misdemeanor by the judges.
“If he had been out of his mind for a while, then why did he go to court every day looking so sad and crazy?” Nagel said. “They did this because they set up a show, and the judges bought, a hook, a line and a sink.
After the jury reviewed the verdict, Baronone fell into the hands of his lawyer. Barisone was immediately rushed to hospital for treatment. The madness trial is set to take place on May 17, when Judge Stephen Taylor will determine whether Barisone needs further treatment or could be released.