Local News

Pilot in fatal copter crash faces murder-for-hire charge

Posted October 19, 2010

— The man who was at the controls of a helicopter that crashed six years ago, killing a Franklin County deputy, is now in jail in Tennessee on a charge that he tried to pay someone to kill a romantic rival.

Ben Barrick has been charged with solicitation of first-degree murder, and he is being held in the Washington County, Tenn., jail under a $150,000 bond.

Investigators allege that Barrick paid an undercover informant $100 to kill his ex-girlfriend's former boyfriend. He also gave the man a loaded handgun and a photo of the intended victim, according to investigators.

In May 2004, Franklin County Deputy Ted Horton was killed during an aerial search for drugs when the helicopter he was riding in crashed.

An investigation revealed that metal fatigue caused the tail boom to fail, and a National Transportation Safety Board investigator also concluded Barrick's inexperience as a pilot led to the crash.

Barrick was charged with involuntary manslaughter in the crash, but prosecutors dismissed the charge in July 2008 because of lack of evidence. Federal law barred the NTSB investigator from testifying.

Franklin County officials also alleged that Barrick deceived them, signing a secret deal with the former sheriff to put a faulty helicopter in service and burden the county with the liability.

Horton's widow dropped her civil suit against Barrick early this year. Her attorney said Barrick had no assets to pay a judgment in the case.

Court rulings previously dropped Franklin County and the sheriff's office from the suit because they were protected by governmental immunity.


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  • beargun Oct 19, 2010

    He only paid 100.00 towards a 1000.00, is that clean enough for you moderator ? I gave Cullen the info for this story this morning for cryin out loud !

  • jotoho99 Oct 19, 2010

    oh the webs some people weave, they always get caught

  • LucyLooo Oct 19, 2010


    They were dating at the time that it happened but have since broken up, so she is now his ex.

  • cm64 Oct 19, 2010

    That must be one heck of a woman.

  • JAT Oct 19, 2010

    $100 and it was his EX girlfiend's EX boyfriend?

  • bbad238 Oct 19, 2010

    This guy really gets around!

  • loyalgirl1111 Oct 19, 2010

    I think I will forget the whole dating thing and stay single!

  • freetospeak Oct 19, 2010

    Ted would have done a lot better with his life had it been the other way around.....he was such a good man, and now to see what Ben is really like, makes Ted's death even more sad.

  • Twittyfan Oct 19, 2010

    How sad!! I don't understand why people can't move forward after a relationship ends. I am sure freedom should out weigh the little cell you will live in for life.. You can always start your life over and move on to another person...

  • awheywego Oct 19, 2010

    Poor judgment seems to be this guy's stock and trade.