Jacqueline Rena Ray paid a felon $10,000 to kill her son-in-law because she believed he was abusing her daughter and might one day kill her, Pierce County prosecutors say.
The 49-year-old Key Peninsula woman and her alleged accomplice, Luis Brea Barker, pleaded not guilty Monday to two counts of first-degree murder. Barker, 37, also pleaded not guilty to first-degree unlawful possession of a firearm.
Although there is only one victim Leon Dwayne Bauchman Jr., 33, of Puyallup Ray and Barker face two counts of murder for allegedly killing Bauchman intentionally and as part of a kidnapping scheme, deputy prosecutor Phil Sorenson said.
They can be convicted on both counts but sentenced only for one.
A couple walking their dog found Bauchmans body July 12 in the 14900 block of 82nd Avenue Northwest, less than a mile from his in-laws house. His ankles, wrists and eyes were covered with duct tape, and he had been fatally shot.
Rays daughter told investigators she and Bauchman had been estranged since late May when he fractured her eye socket and she got a no-contact order against him. She had been working on their relationship and allowing him to stay at their Puyallup home periodically.
The morning before his body was found, Bauchmans wife said, they argued, so she packed a bag and spent the night at a motel with her three children. When she returned home July 12, she tried to call Bauchman but couldnt find him.
Detectives then interviewed one of Bauchmans friends, who said Bauchman called him the night of July 11 and was upset because he couldnt find his wife. Bauchman told his friend that Ray had said his wife was at her home and asked him to come over.
Bauchman believed his mother-in-law was setting him up to be arrested, so he stayed on the phone with his friend during the drive to Rays house and promised to call when he left. He never called.
His SUV later was found at an apartment complex where he sometimes stayed with his grandmother.
According to charging papers:
Ray told investigators she spoke with her son-in-law on the phone that night, but he never came over. She said she was supposed to join her husband on a camping trip that day but was delayed because she helped her daughter find a motel.
A week later, while detectives were serving a search warrant at her home, Ray denied pulling the trigger and indicated that detectives had no idea how crazy Bauchman was. She said Bauchman had become increasingly violent and she feared he would kill her daughter.
Ray eventually admitted to paying Barker $10,000 to kill her son-in-law, according to prosecutors. They provided this account of the slaying:
On July 11, Ray lured Bauchman to her home and called Barker, who arrived with an unknown man, a handgun and duct tape. When Bauchman knocked on the door, the men ambushed him while Ray went outside. She recalled hearing yelling, Bauchman begging and a single gunshot.
Ray gave Barker a tarp to clean up the blood a spot of which was found on the dining room carpet and the keys to her minivan so they could move Bauchmans body. She then washed her son-in-laws blood off the front walkway, burned bloody paper towels and took Bauchmans vehicle to his grandmothers home.
On Aug. 7, Ray wore a wire and recorded Barker talking about the slaying. He was arrested Friday and has refused to speak with investigators.