Monday, December 31, 2007

Records released in Barwick-Ruschak murder case


State of Florida v. Andrew Allred

First-degree murder of Tiffany Barwick and Michael Ruschak

Prosecutors have released court records explaining what Allred did on Sept. 24, the day of the killings; summaries of 911 calls made that day; and statements from Allred's parents

OCALA - Andrew Allred lost his first love. But he wasn't willing to let go and move on.

Authorities say the reluctance led to fatal violence. Allred is accused of shooting and killing his ex-girlfriend, 19-year-old Tiffany Barwick, a native of Ocala and a West Port High School graduate, on Sept. 24. He also is accused of killing her friend, 22-year-old Michael Ruschak, on that same night.

Recently released court records provide more information about Allred, 21, who has pleaded not guilty and awaits trial in Seminole County, which is where the killings happened. Among other things, the records include statements from his parents, who say their son has no significant history of mental illness.

He received therapy and medication for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) from age of 5 or 6 until his early teens, according to rough estimates by his parents. Otherwise, he had no discipline or behavioral problems.

He had a few friends, but wasn't a loner. He did great at school. He shot rifles with his brothers on their parents' 10-acre property in Oviedo.

He didn't lead anyone to believe that he was capable of a double homicide.

In a statement made to Seminole prosecutors, Allred's father, David, said that Andrew's two brothers said "they don't know how he could have or why he would have done that ... It came out of nowhere. They were shocked, too."

Other documents in the case, including statements from Allred's employer and friends' summaries of 911 calls made the night of the killings, paint a dark picture.

Authorities say that, shortly before 10:30 p.m. on Sept. 24, Allred slammed his Dodge Ram pickup into Barwick's car, which was parked outside of Ruschak's rented house in Oviedo.

He broke in through the sliding glass door at the back of the house and shot Ruschak four time in chest and back, prosecutors allege.

Allred purchased a handgun on Sept. 1, less than a week after his birthday, when Barwick broke up with him, records showed.

Ruschak's roommate, Eric Roberts, tried to stop Allred on Sept. 24. Roberts grabbed Allred from behind and pulled him back toward the living room. Allred repeatedly told Roberts to let him go. He finally pointed the gun down and shot Roberts in the leg, prosecutors have alleged.

Police say Allred found Barwick hiding in one of the bathrooms. She was on the phone with a 911 dispatcher. She cried, pleaded and screamed while Allred pointed the handgun at her, according to a summary of the 911 call that authorities prepared. She said she didn't want to die.

Allred shot her at least seven times in chest, wrist and legs, prosecutors say. Her body was found on the bathroom floor with her feet extended over the edge of the bathtub.

Allred then called a friend and left a message for him, the records showed.

He called Barwick's mother and left a message.

He called 911.
Around the same time, another one of his friends called him to see if he wanted to get together for their usual Monday night gathering.

Barwick and Allred dated for close to a year. She moved in with him in June, in a space he had in the basement of his parents' house.

"August 2006 - August 2007 was the best year I've had in my entire life," Allred wrote to Barwick's parents from jail in a letter dated Nov. 15. "Tiffany is the entire reason it was the best year. She made me the happiest person in the world."

But on his birthday, Barwick broke up with him.

She called Allred's mother the next day to let her know she would be coming back to pack some of her belongings.

Documents don't show where Barwick lived after breaking up with Allred, but she signed a lease at an apartment complex in Oviedo on Sept. 18.

Allred became suspicious of Barwick's relationship with her friend, Ruschak, and he began sending harassing messages to her, authorities say. He hacked into her social networking sites and sent offensive messages to her friends as if they were coming from Barwick.

He sent an e-mail to her that featured her picture full of bullet holes. The title of the e-mail was "target," authorities say.

On the morning of Sept. 24, a Monday, Allred hacked into Barwick's Bank of America account and took money out of her checking and savings accounts and paid her credit card, law officers have alleged.

Authorities say Allred then sent an e-mail to everyone in her address book. The e-mail contained instant message conversations between Barwick and Ruschak. It is not clear whether the messages were original or fabricated.

Records showed that Barwick made 911 calls saying that Allred has access to her accounts and was being very threatening toward her via e-mail and instant messaging. "Victim is crying throughout the phone call," the 911 summary shows.

Barwick went to a Seminole County sheriff's deputy before noon Sept. 24 to report Allred.

"Andrew Allred purchased a hand gun very few days after the break up," she wrote in her report, putting two small stars at the beginning and end of the sentence. "More threatening e-mails have been received, wishing harm to me, my family and friends," she wrote.

Meanwhile, Allred took off from work for lunch on that day to go to Chili's and "get drunk," according to statements that his friend Michael Siler provided to Oviedo police.

He returned to work, and shortly afterwards, a customer reported him to his boss for being rude.

His employer took him to his office, spoke with him and eventually decided to give him the afternoon off so Allred could "cool off," according to the employer's account to police.

Allred quit right there. He sent a message to the company employees, saying "I'm out."

He later sent a text message to Siler saying, "jobless now."

He spoke with his father around 6 or 7 p.m., saying he was at a bar, getting drunk and hung up on him, the court records showed.

Then, around 8 p.m., he drove to Siler's house and together they went out for dinner. Allred ordered two pints of beer, but only drank one pint, according to Siler's statement to police.

Neither Siler nor anyone else knew of any plans Allred had for later that night.

That evening, Barwick, Ruschak and a few other friends gathered at Ruschak's place for barbecue. It was after 10:20 p.m. that Barwick warned everyone that Allred had said he was coming over, according to what the friends later told police.

She wanted to call the police, but while friends were debating what to do, they heard a loud bang.

That's when the 911 calls began from inside and outside the residence.

Allred was arrested by Oviedo police roughly an hour after the shooting.

A Seminole County grand jury indicted Allred in October and he faces a number of charges including two counts of first-degree murder. The state is seeking the death penalty.

"I wished you could have answered your phone that night," he wrote in a letter to Barwick's parents on Nov. 11. "I was calling because I didn't know what to do. I wanted you to tell me what the right thing to do was. I still don't know if I picked the correct one. I guess since you'll never get to or want to see or talk to me again, I'll never know."

Naseem Miller may be reached at or 867-4140.

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