USA Olympian Michael Barisone Ordered by Court to Remain in Jail on Attempted Murder Charges

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Michael Barisone in New Jersey’s Morris County court after judge ordered the USA Olympic team rider remain in jail until trial on two attempted murder charges.

Aug. 14, 2019


USA Olympian Michael Barisone was ordered Wednesday to remain in jail while police and prosecutors complete investigation of two atempted murder charges after a woman student was shot twice on the Barisone farm in New Jersey.

Michael Barisone, 54, appeared in Morris County Superior Court for the first time since he was taken into custody following the shooting of Lauren Kanarek at Hawthorne Hill farm in Long Valley, 55 miles/88kms west of New York City a week ago.

The brief hearing came after the family of Lauren, 39, issued a statement Wednesday labeling the shooting an “inexplicable attack.”

“The family thanks those who have supported them and Lauren through this most traumatic time,” the family said in the statement made just hours before the court hearing .

“While there may have been a civil disagreement between Lauren and Mr. Barisone, such things never justify the use of a gun.”

Lauren, originally from New Jersey but is based in North Carolina, remains under intensive care in the Morristown Medical Center where she had undergone operations for two bullet wounds in her chest.

A police report said the sh0oting incident stemmed from an ongoing landlord-tenant dispute. Lauren had been living with her fiance, Rob Goodwin, in a two-story house at the farm while she was training with Barisone. He reportedly wanted her out.

Kanarek and Barisone were having a brief conversation outside the home on the 53-acre farm when he shot her twice in the chest with a 9mm Ruger handgun, authorities said in the complaint.

Kanarek’s fiance was inside the home, looked outside to see Barisone brandishing a handgun, authorities said. Barisone allegedly shot at him but missed, breaking a windowpane in the door, authorities said. Goodwin ran outside to struggle with Barisone until police arrived. Kanarak’s fiance, broke his wrist in the struggle.

The hearing before Judge Stephen Taylor Wednesday was to determine whether the defendant would be released from custody or held in jail until completion of the proceedings.

Jeffrey Simms, Barisone’s attorney, said that Lauren Kanarek and her fiance, Rob Goodwin, were “squatters” on Barisone’s property, referring to Kanarek as a “known drifter” in the dressage community.

He said that there was a verbal agreement between the parties that Kanarek and Goodwin were not supposed to be living on the property any longer, which they disregarded.

Simms told reporters that on the morning of the shooting an investigator with the Division of Child Protection and Permanency, commonly referred to as DYFS, came to Barisone’s property to follow up on accusations made by Kanarek and Goodwin that Barisone had abused two children living on the farm. Barisone does not have any children but his partner has two children.

“These people would do whatever they can to hurt Mr. Barisone,” Simms said, “and that will come out.”

Barisone, 54, is charged with two counts of attempted murder and weapons offenses in the shooting of Kanarek, who remains in the intensive care unit of Morristown Medical Center with life-threatening injuries.

Michael Barisone on Neruda celebrating victory at Wellington, Florida in the Grand Prix Special in 2009 in the first CDI5* ever staged in the United States. © Ilse Schwarz/

Authorities say Barisone shot Kanarek, who is in her late 30s, twice in the chest on Aug. 7 following an argument regarding an ongoing landlord-tenant dispute. Local police had been called to the sprawling 53-acre horse farm owned by Barisone multiple times over the past couple weeks regarding the dispute, according to a police affidavit.

Judge Taylor ruled that Barisone would remain in custody.

Two days after the shootings, the U.S. Center for SafeSport declared Michael Barisone ineligible to participate in equestrian activities under the jurisdiction of the U.S. federation. The SafeCenter site described the grounds as “criminal disposition/subject to appeal/not yet final.”

Michael was a member of the U.S. team at the 2008 Olympics, but did not ride as teams were restricted to three combinations. He coached Allison Brock on the U.S. team at the 2016 Olympics that won bronze. He also coached U.S. eventing team riders in dressage for the 2012 Olympics.

Barisone Dressage is based at the farm in New Jersey and in winter in Loxahatchee, Florida, a community neighboring Wellington, home of the Global Dressage Festival.