Monday, May 9, 2011


A worker installs a giant portrait of Zimmer by French photographer Pierre-Elie de Pibrac inside of a Paris airport.

Yesterday was our annual day of celebrating motherhood in holiday form. Just before the weekend I received an e-mail from Zimmer, a former Austin, Texas Real Life Superhero who moved to Brooklyn to help found the New York Initiative (who I last wrote about HERE)-

In what he calls "the toughest challenge I've ever faced" Zimmer is back visiting home trying to defend his mother, who is currently in jail.

Rather than trying to explain further, I thought I would just share the press release on the case in it's entirety, which follows.

(UNRELATED NOTE: More delay in final Motionary Comics report-see last week-hoping to post it Wednesday!)


Real-Life Superhero Defends Wrongfully Accused Mother

Zimmer, subject of this year's smash hit documentary, “Superheroes”, is active aiding in trauma emergencies as an EMT, doing homeless outreach and even fighting violent crime. When he learned his mother, attorney Carolyn Barnes, was in jail, he traveled from New York to Texas to defend her.

“She's being accused of shooting at a census worker,” says Zimmer, 23. “However, this accuser, Kathleen Gittel, has changed her story twice. When the police searched my mother's home, ammunition, bullet holes, casings and gun powder residue couldn't be found. They didn't even find a gun. Bullet holes and gun powder residue can't magically disappear, they weren't found because they don't exist.”

Kathleen Gittel, 68, alleges that she walked over a mile to get to Carolyn Barnes' very rural residence, even going over a low water crossing and ignoring “No Trespassing” signs. However, she originally stated that the incident had occurred at 33 Indian Trail, an address in another town over, and her description of Barnes' residence does not match it's actual appearance.

The alleged shooting was a national story last year, when Carolyn Barnes, 53, was arrested on the charges, the first person ever to be refused coverage of Texas' Castle Doctrine. After posting her bail, she was released, forced to wear an ankle monitor that tracked her movements by GPS. On February 28, 2011, Judge Doug Shaver revoked her bond and Carolyn Barnes remains in jail.

While the conditions that lead up to Carolyn Barnes being detained in jail are troubling, the conditions inside the jail are even worse. Carolyn Barnes is in solitary confinement, shackled at the ankles and wrists. She is under 24 hour surveillance, including when she uses a toilet or shower. She is forbidden from making phone calls or having any visitors, including her son, currently authorized as her attorney-in-fact.

“There are convicted serial killers, pedophiles and terrorists that get better treatment than what she's getting,” says Zimmer. “From a civil liberties standpoint, it's totally inappropriate for someone that should be assumed innocent until proven guilty.”

Zimmer has been featured in a front page article in New York Press, interviewed on Indie Film Nation and Fox News, as well as photographed for Peter Tangen's Real Life Superhero Project. In “Superheroes”, he can be seen acting as an EMT to aid in a trauma emergency, and helped stop a drunk man from driving home. His team, the New York Initiative, was recently profiled in The London Times for their efforts to track down the infamous Long Island serial killer.

“I've patrolled high crime areas, removed gang tags and defended people from violent attacks,” says Zimmer. “I'm currently helping to coordinate the NYI to stop the recent muggings in the West Village and track down the Long Island serial killer. But this is the toughest challenge I've ever faced. I'm not leaving until she's free.”


  1. If Zimmer is reading this, I want him to know that he 100% has my support and any resources I have available to help his mother. No innocent person should ever have to deal with these kind of circumstances, yet they do. It boils my blood like a kettle when the justice system messes up, no, FUCKS UP (because there aren't words strong enough to convey how massive of a screw up it is when someones life and freedom are at stake) like this.

    I ask all people reading this, let us all do our part of make sure TRUE justice is served and see to it this woman is given back the freedom she deserves. RLSH and RLSV alike, with our combined efforts there can be enough public out-cry to get this case looked at more thoroughly and catch the REAL killer.

    Once again, you have every drop of my support. We'll be in contact.


  2. Who should we start writing/calling? Texas legislators? Judges? Police? The Governor?

  3. I've just sent emails, which included Tea's post and an introduction with contact information to both the Austin Daily Chronicle and the Dallas Morning News.


  4. Agree with Malvado. If there is something that can be done, please get the word out.

  5. Thank you Tea and everyone in support of this cause. This is really personal to me and I appreciate the help.

    I'm looking to get a list of every news outlet that has ever ran an RLSH story. If I can pitch this as a follow-up, maybe it can get into the mainstream media. If you have any suggestions at all, please email me at

  6. Sorry Zimmer,
    She is where she belongs. She admitted to shooting. The castle doctrine - you must be in fear of your life. A 68 year old woman? Really?
    I know your mother. She is not above the law like she thinks she is! I have seen how she acts. It's not right. Look at the big picture and how many cases there are. It's over and over. After a while people stop believing the conspiracy theories. Especially the people that see her behavior fist hand.

  7. @Anon
    Whether said fear is justified or not is irrelevant. Unless it can be proven beyond any reasonable doubt that the actor did not honestly and sincerely believe, correct or otherwise, that the person against whom force was used was attempting to unlawfully enter the actor's residence, then the use of force is justified. And if said actor also believed, correctly or otherwise, that the other had intentions of murder, kidnapping, sexual assault, or robbery, then deadly force is allowed (a wider scope than just "fear for life" I might add). So yeah, if she believed herself to be in danger then she should fall nicely under the castle doctrine's scope, regardless of whether the danger was real or imagined. All this is assuming she fired shots in the first place- there seems to be no physical evidence or really any evidence at all beyond the one accuser's testimony. And irregardless of all of this, nothing changes the fact that the details of her incarceration are grossly unnecessary and an affront to the American principle of presumption of innocence.

    I've e-mailed some local politicians, not sure how much good they could do even if any do respond but it's the best I could think of. If you can think of anyone more relevant (Attorneys, DA's or maybe specific politicians, idk) then spill, and I'll try to contact them as well. Don't matter none if you've done so yourself already, sometimes force of numbers is a lot more convincing that any individual appeal. As for media, there's a reporter I spoke to not long ago on RLSH things, I'll dig up his e-mail address and see if he's interested. And I'll contact the Houston Chronicle, of course. I know some people around the ol' college campus who are good at grassroots-protest sort of things, I'll see if I can do anything there. Any other ideas, feel free to share and I'll try it.

  8. She admitted to it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    She is a nasty person. Why don't you spend your time looking up all of the nasty things that she has done to others. All of the threats, verbal and physical attacks. She truely is off her rocker!
    Drunken Monkey

  9. I for one (by the way, new poster, not the other Anons) think it's irresponsible to say she's wrongfully accused just because her son is an RLSH.

  10. Monkey-
    The American justice system is not based on past mistakes. Her status as a "nasty person" or her location relative to aforementioned rocker are irrelevant. Law requires such detachment- it is not your place, nor mine, nor anyone else's, to judge her as a person.

    Also, every exclamation point you use lessens my opinion of your argument. Just saying.

    I'm not saying she was wrongly accused. If there was even the slightest reason to believe she committed said actions, then yes, she absolutely should have been accused. Accusal ≠ guilt, just the possibility of guilt, which is undeniably present. As for the validity of said accusation, that is a matter for a jury. I prefer not to pass judgements myself; taking sides is necessary, since the adversarial system is the foundation of American trials, and obviously I prefer to side with whom I feel is more "right", for lack of a better word, but ultimately it is best to abstain from absolute judgement, especially when the facts are still being presented.

    No, my real objection is to the conditions she is being kept under and the overall attitudes apparent in her treatment. The harsh state of her incarceration seems to suggest she was already found guilty.

  11. There's no point in speculation when there hasn't even been a trial. Kathleen Gittel has made accusations, my mother and 2 witnesses dispute those accusations. Furthermore, there is no physical evidence to back up Gittel's claims. My mother's guilt or innocence should be determined by a jury, not a judge.

  12. Zimmer is interviewed in Austin Texas on the Jeff Davis Show. Along with Police footage of his mother's first interrogation.

  13. Here is Carolyn Barnes in the initial interrogation. You will notice that she does NOT admit to the crime at all!


  15. You have my full support Zimmer. You are a very brave person.

  16. Some people call this karma.

  17. Just a quick update: The federal suit has been filed under 42 U.S.C. Section 1983 in the Western District of Texas, Austin Division under CIVIL ACTION # A-12-CA-028.

  18. She didn't even have a clue about a sensus worker coming by her house, the address is wrong and they have no evidence. Yet her bail was revoked even though there is no evidence showing she did anything wrong except for a so called sensus worker who was suppose to go to anther house and said she went to her housed. With no evidence and a woman who is a lawyer and yet her bond is reovked!!! How crazy are the people in this city.