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Johnson County man who claimed self-defense found guilty of murder in shooting of stepson

A Johnson County jury has found a 52-year-old Olathe man guilty of murder in the shooting death of his stepson last year, the district attorney’s office said.

The jury found Christopher M. Barwick guilty of first-degree murder in the April 2023 death of 26-year-old Bryson Smith, according to the Johnson County District Attorney’s Office.

Barwick’s attorney, Albert Harris of Harris & Associates Law LLC in Ottawa, Kansas, could not immediately be reached for comment Monday.

According to a court document, Barwick initially told police he shot his stepson in self-defense after he allegedly came to Barwick with a knife.

On the day of the shooting, Olathe police arrived at Barwick’s home in the 800 block of South Windsor Road shortly before 6 p.m. to investigate an armed disturbance between family members, police said in a news release.

Arriving officers found Smith with a single gunshot wound to the left side of his head. A knife with a pearly white handle was found under his left hand. Smith was taken to a hospital, where a doctor pronounced him dead two days later.

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According to a redacted probable cause affidavit, Barwick Smith wanted to leave the house, and the two got into an argument. Barwick told police he shot Smith after arriving at Barwick with a knife.

Smith was found downstairs in an unfinished basement accessed through the garage. Shortly before Barwick called 911 to report that he had shot his son, a surveillance camera recorded Barwick entering the garage.

The camera also captured audio of an exchange involving Barwick. The video then captured Barwick coming from the direction of the basement and walking into the kitchen, where the audio picked up the sound of a drawer opening and metal scraping against metal, according to court documents.

According to court documents, the video then allegedly showed Barwick walking out of the kitchen carrying a white-handled knife and heading towards the basement before disappearing from the camera’s view.

Barwick, who is being held in the Johnson County Jail, is expected to be sentenced May 24.

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