The Olympic dressage coach, accused of shooting his student, was acquitted of attempted murder and found not guilty of insanity in a case that stunned an elite dressage community.
The 57-year-old Michael Barison, an Olympic racer, said he defended himself when he was shot twice in the chest by Lauren Canarek in August 2019 at his training center and on a farm in Long Valley, New Jersey. The canary and her fiancé lived on the farm, but hostility intensified when Barizon and his fiancée moved to a barn on the territory. Barison claimed that Canary was mentally abusing him.
Barrison has faced two counts of attempted murder and two counts of possession of weapons for illegal purposes. A jury in Morris County, New Jersey, found Barrison not guilty of insanity on one charge of attempted murder of the first degree and one charge of possession of a weapon of the second degree. The jury also found Barizon not guilty on the other two charges.
Kanarek’s lawyer Bruce Nagel harshly criticized the jury’s decision. Robert J. Carol, Morris County Attorney, said in a statement that the result was disappointing, but “it should be respected.”
During the two-week trial, Barison lawyer Edward J. Bilinkas accused Kanarek of mentally abusing Barizon, resulting in his shooting. Bilinkas said that in the moments before the shooting Canary and her fiancé Robert Goodwin beat Barison and attacked his dog. Bilinkas said Kanarek also made inflammatory messages on social media about Barison.
A few days before the shooting, Barison called the ambulance several times, claiming that Canarek and her fiancé were squatters and harassed him. In one call, Barysone described the conflict as “war. And it will be decided. “
The canary survived the shooting but was put into a coma, and extensive surgery was performed to restore his left lung. When she recovered, Canarek was greeted by a stream of comments on social media from Barisone supporters who accused her of shooting and said she deserved it.
Barison’s support for the case was reinforced by his position in the sport. Barison was a reserve racer in the United States dressage team at the 2008 Olympics and coached Olympians such as Alison Brock, one of the riders of the United States team that won bronze at the 2016 Rio Games.
The canary was a promising newcomer to dressage and in 2018 moved with her horses to train at Barison Farm. As part of the agreement, she and her fiancé lived in an apartment in a farmhouse. But when the flood forced Barizon and his fiancée to move to a barn on the territory, Barizon tried to evict Canarek and Goodwin from the apartment so he could live there, Canarek told The New York Times in 2019.
Canary used Facebook to detail his long-running dispute with him. Five days before she was shot, Kanarek warned that her life was in danger.
“We are delighted with the verdict,” Barizon’s lawyer Bilinkas said on Friday. “For two and a half years Michael Barison waited to tell his story and tell people what happened to him, what these people did to him. For the first time he found himself in a situation where he could get his life back. “
У appearance on Court TV after the ruling, Kanarek’s lawyer Nagel called the ruling a “judicial error” and a jury error.
“If he was temporarily insane, why did he sit in this courtroom every day, looking disheveled and looking insane?” Said Nagel. “He did it because he put on the show and the jury bought it, hook, line and shipped. This is not a temporary madness. It’s a scam, it’s a trick, it was a show, and it got out of hand. “
When the foreman of the jury read the verdict, Barizon fell into the arms of his lawyer. Barizon was immediately transferred to a psychiatric facility for examination. A hearing on the insanity case is scheduled for May 17, when Judge Stephen Taylor will decide whether Barizon needs further treatment or can be released.