Christopher Barnett, 36, is a former GOP candidate for Governor who was charged with two felonies this week for shooting a process server and posting a threatening blog post to his personal website.
On July 24, a video captured by Chris’ security camera shows a process server knocking on his door to serve him eviction papers. The video shows the two men arguing when the process server turns around to leave. As he walks back to his car, Barnett appears to yell at the man. As the process server turns around he shoots him in the elbow. He was arrested by the Tulsa police and charged with assault and battery with a deadly weapon.
Barnett was released on $75,000 bond on July 25 and arrested again on July 26 after posting some threatening blog posts on his website, www.https://transparencyforoklahomans.com/, where he facetiously threatened to rig up some AR-15s and shoot students as they left at halftime for a football game.
Christopher Barnett pleaded “not guilty” to both felonies. In an interview with KTUL Barnett claims he was acting in self defense. In his version of events he claims “I told him at least four times, ‘You’re trespassing on private property, you need to leave,’ and finally I told him, I said, ‘If you don’t leave, I’m going to shoot you,'” When he went to court, he tried to claim immunity under the state’s “Stand Your Ground” law.
The blog post on his website included a disclaimer that read “This is all hypothetical and not a threat and of course will never happen, but it’ll drive the far left crazy so here it goes” Barnett then goes on to detail a 22 step plan for committing a mass shooting at the University of Tulsa. “start getting every single AR-15 put into place on the highest floor,” the blog post reads. “Rig up a system that will fire all of the guns at once. … Wait until almost half time or when everyone is leaving the game. When people start to flood the gates to leave, the automatic system built starts firing.”
He and his lawyers have claimed that his comments were protected under the First Amendment.
In the shooting case, Christopher Barnett’s past comments have come back to haunt him. He posted on social media before that “The only good process server is a dead process server.” and according to an investigator’s affidavit in the blog post case, Barnett’s Google search history included, “‘can you legally shoot a process server?’”
Barnett’s preliminary hearing is scheduled for August 26. A Judge initially set his bond at $1 million but later reconsidered after watching the video footage. Chris is currently being held without bond until his hearing.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Christopher Barnett Ran for Governor of Oklahoma in 2018 and Plans to Run for Senator in 2020
Before his recent legal troubles, Christopher Barnett was a promising young politician. He campaigned to be Oklahoma’s first openly gay governor in June 2018 and received 5,240 votes, finishing eighth in a 10-person field for the GOP gubernatorial nomination.
Undeterred by his felony arrests, Barnett said he would be exonerated for both crimes and plans to run for Senate in 2020. He announced his candidacy an to local news station KTUL following his second arrest. “I’ve decided I’m running for US Senate, I’m challenging Jim Inhofe. I have a war campaign chest of $25 million, and I intend to win this next election,” he said.
2. He Received Death Threats from Fake Social Media Posts
During his 2018 run for Governor, Barnett was the victim of some trolls who hacked his campaign’s Facebook account and posted some heinous messages on his behalf.
A Facebook post on May 14, 2018 read, “As the next mayor of Oklahoma, I’m going to enact a mandatory nationwide lottery that euthanizes 1 out of every 100 people in the world.”
The post predictably made a lot of people upset. Comments flooded in as the hacked account kept stoking the flames. In response to somebody’s reply, the fake account said “I firmly believe we should have assisted suicide in the US.” Adding, “Why should we have to keep up people who cannot contribute to society any longer?” And finally saying, “If they can take care of themselves without government assistance, great. If not, let them starve and die.”
The comments were picked up by national news outlets before Barnett came out and said his account had been hacked. In the meantime, he received numerous death threats, “There are people saying they want to shoot me, they are going to assassinate me, they are going to shoot me, they are going to blow us up,” Barnett told KFOR.
3. He Has A History Of Making Threatening Statements
During his court appearance last Friday, Prosecutor Mark Collier and District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler asked that Barnett be held without bond due to his history of making threatening statements and his collection of 10 firearms.
“We have a series of veiled threats (on blogs and social media) against attorneys, judges, professors at TU, TCC,” Collier told Seibert. “This behavior extends back to 2014 and has created an atmosphere of fear among these people and their families.”
According to an investigator’s affidavit in the threats case, Barnett “has the means to act on the threats that he has made based on firearms located in his residence as well as his most recent history/arrest.”
Christopher Barnett got his husband George “Trey” Barnett III in some hot water back in 2014 for posting disparaging remarks about George’s colleagues at the University of Tulsa. George was studying theater at TU when he was suspended for a series of Facebook posts Christopher made. Accoridng to Tulsa World, he alleged that one of the teachers was having an affair and that another student should “quit living in a fantasy world believing it’s OK to be morbidly obese.” In another posts from September 28, 2014 he says “Both her ankles broke for a reason … she’s fat,”
His history of threats and disparaging Facebook posts led prosecutors to ask for him to be kept in prison for his two felony arrests.
4. Chris and His Husband Sued Tulsa University
After his husband was suspended from Tulsa University, Christopher and George sued the school for $75,000. George claimed his dismissal was unfair and a breach of the institution’s commitment to due process for students accused of misconduct.
Christopher claimed responsibility for the posts but a school administrator deemed his claims “not credible”. The University and faculty claimed that there was a consistent pattern of harassment from Christopher and they had warned George several times about his conduct before taking action.
The lawsuit was eventually dismissed and the Barrett’s were awarded no damages.
5. He Runs a Marijuana Growing Business
Christopher Barnett owns and operates a marijuana growing facility in Oklahoma. In a page that has since been deleted from his website http://www.transparencyforoklahomans.com, states that “Chris Barnett is the largest Marijuana grower in the State of Oklahoma”.
He was a vocal proponent for medical marijuana in Oklahoma and had a goal to raise $500,000 to fund the legal bills and help citizens fight for medical marijuana legalization.