from the Marion Superior Court, The Honorable Lisa F. Borges,
Judge, Trial Court Cause No. 49G04-1205-MR-33537
Attorney for Appellant Valerie K. Boots Marion County Public
Defender Agency Indianapolis, Indiana.
Attorneys for Appellee Curtis T. Hill, Jr. Attorney General
of Indiana Larry D. Allen Deputy Attorney General
of the Case
Lori Barcroft appeals her convictions, following a bench
trial, for murder and a sentencing enhancement for the
unlawful use of a firearm in the commission of an offense.
Barcroft raises one issue on appeal, namely, whether the
trial court erred when it rejected her insanity defense and
found her guilty but mentally ill.
We reverse and remand with instructions.
and Procedural History
In 2007, Jordan Ashbury, one of Barcroft's adult sons,
became concerned about Barcroft's deteriorating mental
state, which he believed was caused because she was
"demonically possessed." Add. at 5. According to
Ashbury, Barcroft had begun to see messages on the
refrigerator and she had become obsessed with the colors of
cars. Ashbury asked Pastor Jaman Iseminger, the pastor at the
church Barcroft and Ashbury attended, to help Barcroft.
Pastor Iseminger told Ashbury that Barcroft needed to be
prayed over and also hospitalized. After the ensuing death of
her father, Barcroft deteriorated further, and Ashbury
attempted to hospitalize her, but she refused. At the time,
Barcroft lived with Ashbury and his wife, Tamia. However, on
the advice of Pastor Iseminger, Ashbury told Barcroft that
she could no longer live with them, as Tamia was fearful for
her life. Barcroft then moved in with her mother.
On the morning of May 19, 2012, Pastor Iseminger arrived at
the church at approximately 6:45 a.m. in order to open the
church kitchen for Jeff Harris, who was preparing to lead a
workshop. Harris was in the kitchen when he noticed Barcroft
walking around the outside of the church. Barcroft wore a
black hooded sweatshirt with its hood up and dark jeans, and
she carried a backpack. Harris went outside and saw Barcroft
standing in an exterior stairwell that led to the
church's basement, where Pastor Iseminger's office
was located, and looking in through a basement window. Harris
asked Barcroft if he could help her, and Barcroft asked if
Pastor Iseminger was there.
Harris entered the church and went down the interior stairs
to the basement, where he found Pastor Iseminger in his
office. Harris told Pastor Iseminger that a woman was there
to see him. Although Harris was not aware of it, Barcroft had
entered the church behind him and was waiting near the top of
the interior stairs. Pastor Iseminger followed Harris back up
the stairs, and after Harris passed Barcroft, Barcroft shot
at Pastor Iseminger. Barcroft turned, pointed the gun at
Harris, and said "go, go." Tr. Vol. II at 119.
Harris ran outside and called 9-1-1. As he ran, he heard two
more gunshots. Harris then saw Barcroft leave the church and
walk or jog along the building, cross the street, and go
between two houses. Pastor Iseminger came up the exterior
stairs, yelled for help, and collapsed on the ground. Lisa
Walden, an attendee of the workshop, had been asleep in her
car in the church parking lot when she heard the gunshots.
Walden saw Pastor Iseminger fall to the ground, and she saw a
woman dressed in all black walk away quickly. Walden rushed
to help Pastor Iseminger while Harris talked to the 9-1-1
Officers from the Southport and Indianapolis Metropolitan
Police Departments, along with paramedics, responded to the
9-1-1 call. After they obtained a description of Barcroft and
learned the direction of her flight, Officers John Czankusch
and Daniel Ryan used a police dog to search for her. The dog
alerted to an area about a block from the church that was
overgrown with vegetation. Barcroft was hidden under a
blanket of vegetation in such a manner that the officers
could only see some red fabric from her clothing or backpack.
Officer Czankusch later testified that Barcroft was so
well-hidden that the officers probably would not have found
her without the police dog or unless they had actually
stepped on her. Officer Ryan ordered Barcroft twice to come
out. Barcroft did not respond to the first command. When he
made the second command, Officer Ryan told Barcroft that he
would shoot her if she did not come out or if she did not
show her hands. Barcroft then crawled out from under the
vegetation and Officer Czankusch placed Barcroft in
handcuffs. Officer Ryan asked Barcroft if she had a gun, and
Barcroft said she did and informed him that the gun was in
her jacket pocket. At the time of her arrest, Officer Ryan
described Barcroft's demeanor as "very quiet and
calm" and cooperative. Id. at 65. Detective
Michael Mitchell arrived at the scene, and Barcroft
volunteered to him, "I'm the one you're looking
for." Id. at 142. Detective Mitchell also
described her demeanor at the scene as calm. Officers soon
learned that Pastor Iseminger had been pronounced dead at the
hospital from a gunshot wound to his chest.
Officers took Barcroft into custody and placed her in an
interview room. Detective Mitchell entered the room, told
Barcroft to have a seat, and informed her that he was
conducting an investigation. Detective Mitchell read Barcroft
her Miranda rights. Detective Mitchell did not ask
any questions, but Barcroft gave a lengthy narrative in which
she admitted that she had shot Pastor Iseminger.
During her statement to Detective Mitchell, Barcroft
disclosed a complex and extensive system of beliefs and
delusions that experts later diagnosed as schizophrenia,
paranoid type, or delusional disorder, persecutory type.
According to her statement to Detective Mitchell, the
delusions began around 1999 or 2000, when Barcroft took in a
pregnant woman from Colombia. When the woman's baby was
one year old, Barcroft traveled to Colombia for the
baby's baptism, where she met the baby's father, whom
she said was named Rafael Medina. She often called him
"R" or "Rafa." Add. at 7. Barcroft
believed that this man controlled most of the world's
cocaine and was the wealthiest man in the world. Barcroft
said that in 2007, R asked her to marry him, which made her a
"Class KK, uh, 9-9-5-5-7-7" in the Colombian mafia
and also pitted Barcroft against his enemies, which included
the family of Presidents George H.W. and George W. Bush.
Id. According to Barcroft, the Bush family was
allied with the Mexican mafia and was involved in cocaine and
human trafficking. Barcroft thought the Bush family had asked
Osama Bin Laden to commit the September 11, 2001, terrorist
attacks and had tried to kill President Barack H. Obama in
order for Jeb Bush to take over the White House. Barcroft
stated she had twice intervened to save President Obama's
life. Barcroft also said that R had a network of spy
satellites and that they were being watched at that moment.
Barcroft further stated that President George W. Bush and
Ambassador William Brownfield were "slaughtering the
handicapped in Columbia. They handicapped the babies[, ] and
they human traffic." Id. at 8. They also put
Barcroft up for an "electronic auction."
Pastor Iseminger was an integral part of Barcroft's
delusional scheme in that she thought he was controlled by
the Bush family and the Mexican mafia. In particular, in her
statement to Detective Mitchell Barcroft stated that Pastor
Iseminger was responsible for the death of her father in
2010. Although her father's official cause of death was
congestive heart failure, Barcroft claimed to have received a
message that Pastor Iseminger had caused her father to be
smothered to death. Barcroft also believed that Jeb Bush had
killed her grandmother and that the Bush family and Pastor
Iseminger had caused her grandson to be infected with
Kawasaki disease. Barcroft further said that Pastor Iseminger
had been lying about her to make people hate her and have her
appear to be of a lower class than she was to get her killed.
During her statement to Detective Mitchell, Barcroft further
Ah, uh, what happened is, uh, Jaman, who I shot, he, um,
basically is the cause of all of this. And he's 4. Nobody
else can do this but me. I'm 5. And what he's been
doing is uh . . . I'm not a killer, by the way, but
I'm the only one (chuckling) that can do it.
Id. at 8 (ellipses in original). She went on to
I'm the only one that could take care of Jaman.
That's the reason why I did it. It wasn't even
vengeance for . . . I mean, he was gonna try to pick off my
family one by one. Not himself, the people that, that act for
him. And I was basically told that, uh, since he's 4A . .
. Bush family is 4A . . . [.] And he's not Mafia O, by
the way. He's Z. Uh, and I'm Mafia O. I'm the
only one, uh, I'm top "O" Queen.
They want me dead. So they lie, lie, lie, and lie.
Jaman's a ...