The trial date for former Grand Prix dressage rider and trainer Michael Barisone has been pushed back by six weeks and now is scheduled to begin March 21, 2022.
Barisone is accused of attempted murder in the 2019 shooting of a former student and tenant at his New Jersey farm. During a Dec. 1. court hearing on the case, attorneys discussed psychological evaluations of Barisone being prepared by experts for both the prosecution and defense in preparation for potential insanity defense, as well as the admissibility of certain statements made by Barisone to or in the presence of law enforcement officials after the Aug. 7, 2019, shooting that wounded his student and tenant, Lauren Kanarek.
Barisone pleaded not guilty in January 2020 to two counts of attempted murder and two counts of possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose. He is incarcerated at the Morris County (New Jersey) Correctional Facility.
The trial date, which first was set for June 2020 but delayed due to COVID-19 issues, was moved back again Dec. 1 due to conflicting priorities on presiding Judge Stephen Taylor’s trial calendar. In setting a new date, the judge noted that Barisone is coming up on the two-year mark of his original trial date, at which point he would be granted a pre-trial release from jail under New Jersey law. Barisone’s attorney said, however, that Barisone would rather waive release and wait in jail for a trial—something the judge saw as an unusual request.
“The statute is clear, if it gets past the two-year mark, the defendant is released,” Taylor said, noting most defendants are happy to be freed from jail, and that he was unsure whether Barisone has a choice in the matter. “It’s unique to waive that.”
Defense attorney Edward Bilinkas explained that Barisone wants to have a “vigorous” defense and see that the case is thoroughly tried. “He’s already spent over two years in jail, and he’s willing to sit and wait if the case is ready to go,” he said.
Several more hearings are scheduled before the new March 21 trial date, and the trial is expected to take several weeks.