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Ex-Officer Who Killed Neighbor Name-Dropped NYPD Brother in Standoff: DA

By Gwynne Hogan | April 6, 2017 9:22am
 Gene Barrett, 51, was arraigned on murder charges for the death of Joseph Stepinski Wednesday.
Gene Barrett, 51, was arraigned on murder charges for the death of Joseph Stepinski Wednesday.
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DNAinfo/Gwynne Hogan

DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — The former police officer charged with murdering his neighbor outside of their Greenpoint Avenue building tried to leverage his brother's position on the force during a two-hour-long standoff with police, court records show.

Gene Barrett, 51, who plead not guilty to second degree murder and other charges at his Wednesday afternoon arraignment in Brooklyn Supreme Court, comes from large family, with at least two of his siblings working as police officers, according to his attorney Arthur Aidala.

He'd reminded first responders of his connection to the NYPD as they tried to get him to surrender during an armed standoff on March 6, according to a voluntary disclosure form.

"My brother is a Sergeant on the job," he told Lieutenant Minh Hong, at the scene, according to court records released Wednesday. He confessed to Hong, telling him, "It was me."

Barrett, who retired from the NYPD in 2001 on a disability pension, is charged in the shooting death of Joseph Stepinski, a window washer and lifelong Greenpoint resident, in what neighbors said was the tragic culmination of years harassment ignored by local authorities.

"Up until now he's been a total law-abiding citizen," said Arthur Aidala, Barrett's attorney, following the man's arraignment Wednesday. Criminal records confirmed Barrett had no prior arrests in New York City. "He's very personable and so far he's been a very cooperative client."

"I've spoke to five or six people who've known Gene for many, many years. They only rave about what a sweet, gentle, considerate man he is," he said. "They are absolutely shocked by the [accusations]."

Aidala called the case, "really sad," and he declined to say how he planned to defend his client against the grave allegations.

"This case is at its inception. There's still a lot of work to be done to figure out the strategy going forward."

Barrett is being held without bail on Rikers Island and is due back in court on May 16, according to his lawyer and court records.