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Guilty Plea Expected for Ex-Cop Accused of Killing Greenpoint Man: Lawyer

By Gwynne Hogan | June 19, 2017 11:39am
 Gene Barrett, 51, was arraigned on murder charges at an earlier hearing. He appeared in court Friday through video monitors from Rikers Island where he is being held without bail.
Gene Barrett, 51, was arraigned on murder charges at an earlier hearing. He appeared in court Friday through video monitors from Rikers Island where he is being held without bail.
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DNAinfo/Gwynne Hogan

DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — The retired NYPD officer charged with gunning down his Greenpoint neighbor in front of their apartment before an armed standoff with police is expected to plead guilty following a psychiatric evaluation, his defense lawyer said Friday.

Gene Barrett's lawyer Arthur Aidala has requested a doctor to conduct a full analysis of the former police officer's mental health issues, which will be presented to the court and help determine what kind of plea deal is fair, he said

"It's not a case that's going for a trial. It's what we call an 'untryable' case," Aidala said.

"[Barrett] did not have the mental capacity to understand what he was doing and what was going on," Aidala said. "He doesn't know he needs [treatment]. He's a nice guy. He's a super nice guy. He's not stupid."

Barrett is accused of shooting his 45-year-old neighbor Joseph Stepinski, a window washer, in the head on the sidewalk in front of their apartment building at 185 Greenpoint Ave. on March 6.

He then retreated into Stepinski's apartment where he holed himself up in a two-hour-long standoff with police, where he trained a gun at a responding officer and later admitted, "it was me," prosecutors said.

Barrett had harassed and threatened people for years, according to residents and businesses owners near his Greenpoint Avenue home, who called him a "neighborhood terror." Eventually neighbors stopped reporting the abuse when police never arrested him, DNAinfo reported. Many on the block knew he was a retired police officer who carried a gun.

►READ MORE: POLICE IGNORED EX-OFFICER'S DECADE-LONG RAMPAGE BEFORE MURDER, NEIGHBORS SAY

In a jailhouse interview in May, Barrett called Stepinski's girlfriend, Melissa Rotundo, a "f--ing c--t," a pervert, and said he believed that she and his landlord and others on the block were conspiring to get him out of his rent-stabilized apartment.

Records obtained through a Freedom of Information Request showed Barrett dialed 911 repeatedly to say his landlord or neighbors were harassing him, to say his tires had been slashed, or that his neighbors were making false accusations against him.

►READ MORE: EX-COP ACCUSED OF KILLING NEIGHBOR BELIEVED PEOPLE WERE OUT TO GET HIM

Barrett obviously suffers from mental illness, but has never had psychiatric treatment, Aidala said. "He just doesn't see the world the way we do."

Aidala has picked Doctor Alexander Bardey of Fifth Avenue Forensics, who has interviewed Barrett and his family members to make a diagnosis. Bardey didn't return a request for comment immediately.

Once Bardey has made a complete diagnosis, Aidala will have a better idea of what kind of treatment he'll seek for Barrett and what kind of plea deal he can negotiate.

"What he's suffering from — is it something that can be addressed or fixed?" the lawyer said.

Barrett's next court date is July 26.