Saying the exact circumstances the led to 51-year-old Dean Barker's murder remain murky, prosecutors in Pierce County officially charged six individuals on Tuesday with first-degree kidnapping, first-degree robbery and first-degree murder in relation to the crime. Though not all were present at the time of Barker's death, Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist says all played in the robbery and kidnapping of Barker, and by state law all played a chargeable role in his murder.
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Barker's body was discovered Sept. 8 in the front yard of a vacant, new, for-sale home in Graham, his hands bound, mouth taped shut, and a red bandana tied around his neck - which prosecutors say was likely applied by Mahaffey to mark the victim.
Charging documents indicate one of the other suspects charged with Barker's murder has told police he has gang affiliations,
Thirty-year-old Jeffrey Powell II, 33-year-old William Barry, 17-year-old Aileenah Horton, 32-year-old Angela King, 23-year-old Joshua Stevens, and 23-year-old Justin Mahaffey were all charged with the crime, with the teenage Horton charged as an adult because of the severity of the alleged murder. As of the writing of this post, all but Powell had been arrested and appeared in court. A warrant was issued for Powell's arrest.
On Tuesday Powell, Barry, Horton, King, Stevens, and Mahaffey all pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Late in the day Tuesday Pierce County Prosecutors say a seventh and final suspect, 60-year-old John Brown, was also arrested in relation to the crime - with charges against him expected to come Wednesday.
According to charging documents filed in the case, prosecutors contend that the murder was part of a retaliation attempt, with the suspects apparently believing (in varying levels of certainty) that Barker had molested Barry's 3-year-old daughter earlier in the day, and in a separate incident sexually assaulted Horton - who prosecutors say is listed as a runaway and has two other outstanding warrants for her arrest. During the investigation, Horton was located by police at Brown's South Tacoma home, and agreed to be interviewed. Investigators say it was at Brown's home where Barker was initially beaten, before being taken to Graham and murdered.
From charging documents:
HORTON told investigators that that she had met Barker twice in during the month of August. HORTON said during the first meeting Barker fondled her. As a result HORTON said she hit Barker with her hands and a "cattle prod." HORTON said during their second meeting she was nice to Barker because she wanted Barker to pay a phone bill for her.
HORTON said the final time she met Barker was September 7, 2012, at BROWN"S residence. During that meeting HORTON said she, BARRY, MAHAFFEY, and POWELL beat and kicked Barker because they believed he had molested BARRY'S three year old daughter earlier in the day. In addition KING claimed that Barker had sexually assaulted her several weeks earlier. KING is MAHAFFEY'S girlfriend. HORTON said she kicked Barker in the groin "really, really hard." HORTON said Barker was already down on the ground when she kicked him. HORTON said the group took Barker's wallet and divided up his cash. At least one witness reported seeing a suspect wearing Barker's watch the day after the murder.
On Sept. 30 prosecutors say King and Mahaffey were arrested as part of a separate investigation into a stolen vehicle. This gave investigators a chance to discuss Barker's murder with her, with details of the discussion appearing in charging documents filed against the six accused murders.
More from charging documents:
KING told investigators that she was present at the residence when Barker was assaulted and said that the beating stemmed Barker's sexual assault on KING several weeks earlier and the belief that Barker had something to do with BARRY'S daughter's brief disappearance. KING said that after the beating
Barker and MAHAFFEY got into KING'S car, a dark colored SUV. KING said POWELL left the scene with STEVENS in Barker's. KING said she drove intending to drop Barker off at Barker's car. KING said during the trip she spoke on a cell phone with POWELL. POWELL directed her to a location in Graham where KING, MAHAFFEY, Barker and POWELL met. KING said Barker got out of the car and walked away with POWELL. It appears this is the location where Barker's body was found. KING said Barker was alive when she and MAHAFFEY left the scene.
On October 1, 2012, STEVENS was arrested. STEVENS told investigators that he was present during the beating of Barker and was aware that BARRY blamed Barker to his child's brief disappearance earlier in the day. STEVENS said the child was returned to the house by police. Apparently after police left BARRY began to assault Barker. STEVENS told detectives that he thought BARRY simply lost track of the child because BARRY was smoking "pot" upstairs in the house. STEVENS told investigators that MAHAFFEY, BARRY, HORTON and POWELL all participated in the assault. STEVENS said that the group took Barker's wallet, car keys, car and cash. STEVENS said he took Barker's watch out of Barker's backpack. STEVENS told detectives that he did not leave the Brown residence with either POWELL or KING, MAHAFFEY and Barker. STEVENS said MAHAFFEY told the group that MAHAFFEY and KING were "taking" Barker and directed members to bind Barker. STEVENS admitted that he taped Barker's mouth shut. STEVENS confirmed many of the details recited above.
"The motive for this kidnapping and brutal murder is still murky," said Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist in a written statement distributed to the media. "Some of the defendants alleged that the victim was somehow involved in the disappearance of a three-year-old, and that he previously sexually assaulted defendant King, but there's no corroborative evidence to support these claims. What we know is that all the defendants were involved in a robbery and kidnapping that led to murder."