Victim’s family fearful of Vernon suspect following latest charges

A man implicated in a gruesome murder in 2010 is back on trial.

Kenneth Scott Barter was scheduled to stand trial on April 13 for assault and assault with a gun stemming from an incident in Coldstream in July 2022. That appointment has now been postponed to allow Barter to consult legal counsel.

Previously, on January 10, 2011, Barter was found not criminally responsible for second-degree murder in connection with the August 2010 death and dismemberment of his friend Nathan Mayrhofer at a Vernon apartment building.

Mayrhofer’s family is “extremely dismayed and saddened” by the current charges.

“However, we are not surprised by the current situation,” said Sister Rebecca Mayrhofer. “At the last Audit Committee hearing in 2019, we and others expressed our opposition to an outright dismissal of Ken.”

The family said there are still very worrying issues with Barter’s ongoing mental health.

“We felt the board overlooked these concerns in order to release Ken from the system. Unfortunately, our concerns have recently been proven correct.”

Mayrhofer’s family continues to see Barter as a high risk for them and the public.

Barter, born in 1973, is currently not in custody.

“Ken was and will continue to be a serious risk to the public and our family unless kept under constant surveillance,” the family said, advocating keeping Barter under constant surveillance as a risk under the Mental Health Act.

They have written letters to the provincial and federal governments expressing concern about violent criminals and have faced blame and silence.

“This is something that needs to be addressed because it affects everyone,” Rebecca said, remembering her brother, who was just 32 when he was killed.

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“People suffer from mental health problems all the time and don’t have support systems or a strong network to help them get better. Cases like this cast a shadow over the whole system.

“We need to separate the perpetrators of violence from the general population. I feel like we all face mental health issues in our lives, whether it’s ourselves or loved ones. Aid is generally not there, hospitals are overcrowded and understaffed. And then we lump violent criminals with others, that’s not right, that should be separated. The system needs to be overhauled from the ground up. We need to lobby governments to change the existing processes.”

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