Scared to Death

Cop is arrested years after his wife is murdered

This story originally aired on Oct. 29, 2005.

Police Lt. Jim Barton found his wife, Vickie, murdered execution-style on their farm in Warren County, Ohio, in 1995.

With limited physical evidence and no suspects, the investigation lay dormant for nine years until a tip opened up the case.

Jim Barton soon found himself under arrest with charges related to the slaying. Prosecutors had a troubling theory: did Jim Barton's ambition to become police chief lead to his wife's murder?

Correspondent Peter Van Sant reports.

Growing up in Middletown, Ohio, Vickie Siebert seemed to have one passion in life: horses.

But Vickie's mother, Mary Jane Siebert, soon discovered her daughter had another interest at the stable. "She would go out practically every day, out to the barn. … I thought she was riding the horse. She wasn't. She was out there with Jim."

Jim Barton says Vickie loved the outdoors and that their love of riding horses brought them together. In 1980, after a five-year courtship, Jim and Vickie married.

The newlyweds moved into the small town of Springboro, where Jim became a police officer, rising to the rank of lieutenant.

Darlene Bisgaard and Cathy Trame knew Vickie as both a friend and a co-worker and they say she loved being a cop's wife. "I think she looked up to him as kind of her protector," said Trame.

Like Jim, Vickie chose a career helping people, eventually becoming a head nurse at a local hospital.

But Jim and Vickie never let their careers stand in the way of their goal of owning a farm. In 1988, they purchased a horse farm just outside Springboro, which they called "Locust Knoll."

"In my eyes, it was Ponderosa. Whether it was to anybody else other than Vicky and I, I don't know," said Jim.

For the next seven years, Jim and Vickie spent every spare moment rebuilding the home, putting up a network of fencing, and adding a new barn.

But neither Jim nor Vickie could have planned for what happened back on April 11, 1995.