Lauren Kanarek testifies against Michael Barisone

It’s not every day that a shooting victim tells the story, it’s a dressage rider Lauren Kanarek41, took the stand on Wednesday to testify against the former Olympic coach Michael Barisone57, the man accused of plotting to murder her.

Kanarek said Barisone shot her twice while she was on the phone with a lawyer. Kanarak acted out the defendant drawing the gun, aiming it and “bang, bang, just like that.” Barisone also shot her fiancé Rob Goodwin. That shot went wide, but Kanarak said she thought he shot Goodwin in the head. She said she even looked at her chest when it happened.

“It was almost unreal for me that I was shot,” she said.

Barisone, on the other hand, relies on self-defense.

If both sides agree on anything, it is that the relationship between the defendant and Kanarak had broken down in the period leading up to the shooting.

Kanarak leased his farm in Morris County, New Jersey. She challenged Barisone and his girlfriend Mary Haskins Gray involved in bullying behavior towards them. Accordingly, she filed a complaint with SafeSport — an organization that investigates abuse allegations in US Olympic and Paralympic sports — about the couple who she bullies, scaremongers and body-shames.

The prosecutor asked what was the worst thing Barisone had done to her.

“Attempted to violently murder me on August 7, 2019,” she said.

For her part, Gray testified that Kanarak made threats on social media.

“We were scared of where it was going and what was going to come next,” she said. “[Barisone] was absolutely petrified and scared.”

DR Ruth Cox, who handed the gun to Barisone, testified that Goodwin threatened both her and Barisone, although the judge said only Barisone’s mental state was relevant to this questioning. Finally asked only about the alleged threat against Barisone, Cox said she didn’t remember the details.

“I don’t remember the exact words, but it was approximate — he didn’t want Michael to dictate what was going on with him and his girlfriend’s horses,” she said.

Kanarek admitted to writing things online about the couple that prosecutors called “unflattering,” but she denied ever making threats against them. When asked why she didn’t leave the farm, she said it was prohibitively difficult to move her five horses on short notice.

Kanarek testified that Barisone could be incredibly funny, charming, and kind. Other days, she said, Barisne appeared angry and even yelled at an employee. At this point, one would know better to keep one’s distance, Kanarek testified.

[Screenshot via Law&Crime Network]

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James Brien

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