7th person charged in slaying of man dumped outside Graham home


TACOMA, Wash. - A seventh person has been charged in the robbery, slaying and kidnapping of a 51-year-old man whose body was dumped in front of a vacant home in Graham last month.


That person, 60-year-old John Joseph Brown, was charged with first-degree murder, robbery and kidnapping on Wednesday.


Six others were charged with the same crimes on Tuesday.


The six others charged in the case are Jeffrey Powell II, 30, William Barry, 33, Aileenah Horton, 17, Angela King, 32, Joshua Stevens, 23, and Justin Mahaffey, 23.  All but Powell are in custody and a  nationwide warrant has been issued for his arrest.


Though Horton is 17, she has been charged as an adult because of the seriousness of the crime, prosecutors said.


Pierce County prosecutors said the victim, Dean Barker, and the seven others were gathered when Barry began attacking Barker and the others joined in.


Prosecutors said members of the group stole Barker’s wallet, watch and car and divided up his cash.


According to prosecutors, when arrested, Brown admitted that the crimes began at his home.  He told detectives that the victim thought he would be killed if Brown allowed the group to take him from the residence. 


After the group beat Barker for between an hour and two hours, Barker, who was still alive, was loaded into an SUV and eventually strangled to death, police said.


Police said Barker was found face down the next day with his hands bound behind him, his mouth taped shut and a red bandana tied around his neck.


One of the defendants in the case claimed Mahaffey, a purported member of the Bloods street gang, "marked" Barker with the bandana, the Prosecutor’s Office said.


Investigators said the defendants told police they attacked Barker because King claimed that he had sexually assaulted her weeks ago.


In addition, police said Barry's 3-year-old daughter was missing for about three hours earlier on the day of the slaying and Barry blamed Barker.  The girl was found by police the same day.  


"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 3-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."