According to a March 12 statement by Attorney General Chris Koster, Barton is guilty of four counts of burglary and four counts of stealing, for crimes he committed while serving as a deputy with the Oregon County Sheriff's Department.
Barton's guilty plea was entered in Butler County after a change of venue from Oregon County.
Koster said that between Aug. 13 and Dec. 12, 2010, Barton broke into four Oregon County buildings: a barn leased by deer hunters, a private workshop, Brad's Bike Shop and the Missouri Department of Transportation shed in Alton. Barton stole tools and equipment including a four-wheeler, generators, hammer drills and nine new chain saws.
Many of the stolen items were later located at Barton's home during the execution of a search warrant last January. Barton was arrested after selling some of the stolen goods to an undercover investigator, then leading authorities on a helicopter chase to his rural Alton house.
"Missourians hold their law enforcement officials in the highest regard," Koster said in a press release, "and the vast majority of them exceed that faith day in and day out. It is disappointing to discover that an officer of the law breached the public trust by engaging in criminal activities. Mr. Barton has admitted his guilt and now will face his punishment as would any other citizen."
Barton served as an Oregon County sheriff's deputy for about 15 years, and is the son of former Alton Police Chief Michael Barton. He will be sentenced May 15 in Poplar Bluff.
The Missouri State Highway Patrol and Oregon County Sheriff's Office conducted the initial investigation.
In October 2011, another Oregon County deputy was arrested and charged with stealing by coercion.
Darrin Sorrell, 32, of Thayer was charged with threatening to open a drug investigation if an Oregon County woman didn't pay him money.
A probable cause statement filed by Oregon County Prosecutor Fred O'Neill indicates the woman paid Sorrell two checks, totaling $5,800, "to make the investigation go away."
Prosecutors said the money was deposited into Sorrell's personal bank account.
Oregon County Court records indicate Sorrell was ordered in August 2011 to repay Capital One Bank in a breach of contract suit. Sorrell is to repay $5,809 in principal, $587 in interest and $871 for attorney fees, for a total of $7269 plus court costs.
The judgement is to bear interest of almost 20 percent annually.
Sorrell is free on $10,000 bond. His case will be heard by Judge Randy Schuller. Judge David Paul Evans stepped down from the case.
Shortly after Sorrell was arrested, Oregon County Sheriff George Underwood prepared a statement to apologize for the "grave indiscretions" of deputies Barton and Sorrell.
Underwood said he was involved in both investigations, calling in the Highway Patrol early on in Barton's case. Sorrell's case came to light when the victim's family notified the drug task force.
"If we've got a dirty officer, we have to get them out of here," Underwood said last October. "I don't want anyone to think we're hiding anything."
In his prepared statement, Underwood thanked the patrol and Missouri South Central Drug Task Force for their help investigating both cases.
"I wish to assure each of you, as your sheriff, I will do everything in my power to assist in prosecution of these former officers," Underwood stated. "While these incidences have been hard on the sheriff's office, we are committed to protect and serve the citizens of Oregon County by any means necessary."
Assistant Attorneys General Elizabeth Bock and Joshua Harrell prosecuted Barton's case. A court date has not yet been set for Sorrell.