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Six charged in murder of man dumped outside vacant home | Pierce County Prosecutor
Today Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist charged six defendants with Murder in the First Degree, Robbery and Kidnapping, in the death of 51-year-old Dean Barker. The charged defendants are Jeffrey Powell II, 30, William Barry, 33, Aileenah Horton, 17, Angela King, 32, and Justin Mahaffey, 23. All of the defendants except for Powell are in custody and will be arraigned this afternoon at 1:30 in Courtroom 270 in the County City Building in Tacoma. A warrant has been issued for Powell’s arrest.
“The motive for this kidnapping and brutal murder is still murky,” said Prosecutor Mark Lindquist. “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.”
On September 7, Mr. Barker and the defendants were gathered together when Barry began assaulting the victim. Others joined in the assault. Members of the group stole the victim’s wallet, his watch, and his car. They divided up his cash. The victim, who was still alive, was taken outside and loaded him into an SUV. He was eventually strangled to death and his body dumped on the front yard of a vacant home in Graham.
The assault began, according to defendants, because King claimed that the victim had sexually assaulted her weeks ago. Additionally, Barry’s daughter had gone missing for approximately three hours earlier that day and Barry blamed the victim. Another defendant said Barry was smoking marijuana and may have just lost track of his daughter. The unharmed child was found by police that same day.
Law enforcement became aware of the body on September 8 when neighbors called the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department. The victim was found face down, his hands bound behind him and his mouth taped shut. A red bandana was tied around his neck. An autopsy revealed that the victim had been beaten and died from strangulation. One of the defendants claimed Mahaffey, a purported member of the bloods street gang, “marked” the victim with the red bandana.
Horton, who is seventeen, has been charged as an adult because of the seriousness of the crime. Charges are only allegations and a person is presumed innocent unless he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The investigation is ongoing.