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, according to the district attorney’s office.

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

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

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

On the day of the shooting, Olathe police responded shortly before 6 p.m. to Barwick’s home in the 800 block of South Windsor Road 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 back left side of his head. A knife with a pearl white handle was found underneath his left hand. Smith was taken to a hospital, where a doctor declared him dead two days later.

According to a redacted probable cause affidavit, Barwick wanted Smith out of the house, and the two got into an altercation. Barwick told police he shot Smith after he came at Barwick with a knife.

Smith was found downstairs in an unfinished basement accessible through the garage. Shortly before Barwick called 911 to report that he shot his son, a surveillance camera captured 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 audio picked up the sound of a drawer opening and metal scraping against metal, according to court documents.

Then, according to court documents, the video allegedly showed Barwick walking out of the kitchen with a white-handled knife and heading towards the basement before going out of view of the camera.

Barwick, who is being held in Johnson County jail, is scheduled to be sentenced on May 24.

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