Mark O. Barton

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Mark O. Barton
Mark O. Barton in 1994
Mark Orrin Barton

April 2, 1955
DiedJuly 29, 1999(1999-07-29) (aged 44)
Cause of deathSuicide by gunshot
OccupationDay trader, chemist
DateJuly 27–29, 1999
Location(s)Stockbridge and Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.
Target(s)His wife and two children; former co-workers
Killed13 - 15 (13 confirmed including himself)

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

Police searching Barton's home found that his second wife, Leigh Ann Vandiver Barton, together with the two children from his first marriage, Matthew David Barton (11) and Mychelle Elizabeth Barton (8), had been murdered by hammer blows before the shooting spree started.[1] The slain children were placed in bed as if asleep. According to a note left at the scene by Barton, his wife was killed on July 27 before the children were on the following day.[2]

Before the massacre, Barton was a suspect in the 1993 beating deaths of his first wife, Debra Spivey, and her mother, Eloise Spivey, in Cherokee County, Alabama;[3] however, he was never charged for their murders and always denied having had any part in them, including in the note he left behind with the bodies of his children and his second wife.[2] Not with standing his denials, authorities still consider Barton a suspect in the 1993 murders.[4]


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

Barton's family moved to Alabama as his employer required him there. Barton grew paranoid and started distrusting his wife. He lost his employment after his performance plummeted. He was also caught sabotaging data of the company that had fired him and served a short jail term for this retaliatory act.[5] Barton found a new employer in Georgia and a mistress in one of his wife's acquaintances, with whom he had an affair. In 1993, Spivey and her mother Eloise were killed by bludgeoning. Barton was the prime suspect in the double-murder, but was not charged due to the lack of evidence.[5] He married his former mistress, Leigh Ann Vandiver, in 1995. His mental health continued to deteriorate, however, and he began to suffer from both 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]

On July 29, 2009, Atlanta marked the 10th anniversary of the tragedy.[9]


The following is a list of those killed:[10][11]

  • 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. ^ Howard, Jacqueline (Feb 23, 2018). "School shooting survivor: 'There's so many of us now'". CNN Digital. Retrieved Jan 28, 2021.
  10. ^ "Memories of those who died". CNN. July 31, 1999.
  11. ^ 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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