Mark O. Barton

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Mark O. Barton
Mark O. Barton
Mark Orrin Barton

April 2, 1955
DiedJuly 29, 1999(1999-07-29) (aged 44)
Cause of deathSuicide by gunshot
OccupationDay trader, chemist
DateJuly 27 – July 29, 1999
Location(s)Stockbridge and Atlanta, Georgia
Target(s)His wife and two children; former co-workers
Killed13 (including himself)

Mark Orrin Barton (April 2, 1955 – July 29, 1999) was a spree killer from Stockbridge, Georgia, who killed 12 people and injured 13 more on July 29, 1999. The murders occurred at Barton's home and also at two Atlanta day trading firms that had previously employed Barton as a day trader, Momentum Securities and the All-Tech Investment Group.[1] It is believed that Barton was motivated by large financial losses during the previous two months. Before he could be apprehended by police, Barton committed suicide.[1]

Following the shootings, police searching Barton's home found that his second wife, Leigh Ann Vandiver Barton, and the two children from his first marriage, Matthew David Barton (12) and Mychelle Elizabeth Barton (10), had been murdered by hammer blows before the shooting spree.[1] The children had then been placed in bed, as if sleeping. According to a note Barton left at the scene, his wife was killed on July 27 and the children murdered on July 28.[2]

Prior to the massacre, Barton had been a suspect in the 1993 beating deaths of his first wife, Debra Spivey, and her mother, Eloise Spivey, in Cherokee County, Alabama.[3] Although he was never charged for either of the crimes—and though the note he left with the bodies of his children and his second wife denied any involvement in the 1993 murders[2]—authorities consider Barton a suspect in those murders.[4]


Barton was born on April 2, 1955, in Stockbridge, Georgia, to an Air Force family, and was raised in South Carolina. Barton attended Clemson University and the University of South Carolina, where he earned a degree in chemistry despite an ongoing drug habit. Back in Atlanta, he married Debra Spivey, and had two children, Matthew and Mychelle.[5]

The family moved to Alabama due to Barton's job. Barton became paranoid and started distrusting his wife. He lost his job when his work performance started to suffer. He was caught sabotaging company data in retaliation for his firing and he served a short jail term.[5] Back in Georgia, Barton got a new job and began an affair with Leigh Ann Vandiver, one of his wife's acquaintances. In 1993, Spivey and her mother Eloise were bludgeoned to death. Barton was the prime suspect in the double murder, but was not charged due to lack of evidence.[5] Barton married Leigh Ann in 1995. His mental health continued to deteriorate and he began to suffer from severe depression and paranoid delusions.[5]

Barton had received a $294,000 insurance settlement from his first wife's death, and used the funds to finance his day trading career, preferring high-risk Internet-related stocks.[6] In the month prior to his killing spree, Barton had lost $105,000, and Momentum Securities had cancelled his account.[6]

Killing spree[edit]

On July 27, 1999, Barton woke up early in the morning and bludgeoned Leigh Ann to death as she slept. The next night, he also beat his children Matthew and Mychelle to death. He covered them with blankets and left notes on their bodies, reading in part:[2]

I killed Leigh Ann because she was one of the main reasons for my demise. ... I know that Jehovah will take care of all of them in the next life. I'm sure the details don't matter. There is no excuse, no good reason I am sure no one will understand. If they could I wouldn't want them to. I just write these things to say why. Please know that I love Leigh Ann, Matthew and Mychelle with all my heart. If Jehovah's willing I would like to see them all again in the resurrection to have a second chance. I don't plan to live very much longer, just long enough to kill as many of the people that greedily sought my destruction.

On July 29, he went to the offices of his former employer, Momentum Securities. Witnesses say that Barton briefly chatted with coworkers before suddenly pulling out two pistols and opening fire. He shot and killed four people and attempted to execute Brad Schoemehl, who was shot three times at point-blank range. Barton then walked to the nearby All-Tech Investment Group building and murdered an additional five victims. Barton left the scene before police could arrive.[7] The police searched his house and found the bodies of his family and the notes that he had left with them, in which Barton vehemently denied responsibility for the deaths of his first wife and mother-in-law.[2]

An intensive manhunt ensued. Four hours after the All-Tech Investment Group shooting, Barton accosted and threatened a young girl in Kennesaw, apparently attempting to secure a hostage for his escape.[8] The young girl escaped and called police.[8] Responding police officers spotted Barton in his minivan and a chase ensued, culminating at a gas station in Acworth.[4] As law enforcement attempted to apprehend him, Barton shot and killed himself.[3]


The following is a list of those killed:[9][10]

  • Leigh Ann Vandiver Barton, 27, wife of Mark Barton
  • Matthew David Barton, 11, son of Mark Barton
  • Mychelle Elizabeth Barton, 8, daughter of Mark Barton
  • Allen Charles Tenenbaum, 48, day trader at All-Tech Investment Group
  • Dean Delawalla, 52, day trader at All-Tech Investment Group
  • Joseph J. Dessert, 60, day trader at All-Tech Investment Group
  • Jamshid Havash, 45, day trader at All-Tech Investment Group
  • Vadewattee Muralidhara, 44, a computer course student at All-Tech Investment Group
  • Edward Quinn, 58, day trader at Momentum Securities
  • Kevin Dial, 38, office manager at Momentum Securities
  • Russell J. Brown, 42, day trader at Momentum Securities
  • Scott A. Webb, 30, day trader at Momentum Securities


  1. ^ a b c "AJC Atlanta Rewind: Mark Barton's 1999 Buckhead rampage". ajc. Retrieved 2017-12-20.
  2. ^ a b c d "SHOOTINGS IN ATLANTA: THE NOTES; 'There Is No Reason for Me to Lie Now ... '". The New York Times. 1999-07-31. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-12-20.
  3. ^ a b Sack, Kevin (1999-07-31). "SHOOTINGS IN ATLANTA: THE OVERVIEW; Killer Confessed in a Letter Spiked With Rage". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-12-20.
  4. ^ a b "CNN - Georgia killer's notes show a troubled man - July 30, 1999". Retrieved 2017-12-20.
  5. ^ a b c d Moffatt, Gregory K. (2000-01-01). Blind-sided: Homicide where it is Least Expected. Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 9780275969295.
  6. ^ a b "A Bloody Day in Georgia – Vol. 52 No. 6". 1999-08-16. Retrieved 2017-12-20.
  7. ^ Doonan, Brent C. (2007-05-01). Murder at the Office. Kensington Publishing Corporation. ISBN 9781933893082.
  8. ^ a b Irwin, Ron (2017-01-26). Mass Murders in America. ISBN 9781329829329.
  9. ^ "Memories of those who died". CNN. July 31, 1999.
  10. ^ Jr, B. Drummond Ayres; Barstow, David (1999-07-31). "SHOOTINGS IN ATLANTA: THE VICTIMS; Drawn to Their Deaths By Lives in Day Trading". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-12-20.

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