Pierce County prosecutors Monday charged a 30-year-old man with first-degree murder, first-degree robbery and first-degree kidnapping in the death of a Lakewood resident whose body was dumped in Graham last month.
Jeffrey Wayne Powell II was being sought on a nationwide arrest warrant at press time.
Prosecutors allege Powell and at least four other people were involved in the abduction, robbery, beating and strangulation of 51-year-old Dean Barker, whose body was found Sept. 8 outside a new home for sale in the 22200 block of 124th Avenue East.
Three of those people William Barry, 33; Angela King, 32; and Justin Mahaffey, 23 made a preliminary appearance in Superior Court on Monday and were ordered jailed in lieu of $2 million bail apiece. The fourth person, Aileenah Horton, 17, appeared in court Friday and also was ordered held in lieu of $2 million bail.
Prosecutors expect to formally charge them all today, and deputy prosecutor Phil Sorensen said more arrests could be made.
What prompted Barkers killing remained in question Monday.
Horton and King told authorities Barker had sexually assaulted them in the weeks before his death, court records state. The group also believed Barker had molested Barrys 3-year-old daughter the day he was abducted, Horton told authorities.
The group decided to kidnap and attack him to avenge the alleged sex crimes against Barrys daughter and King, Horton and King told detectives.
Prosecutor Mark Lindquist said Monday that there was no evidence Barker sexually assaulted the 3-year-old. Lindquist also said there was no evidence corroborating the claims that Barker sexually assaulted King.
Its not clear if this is a case of vigilante revenge or if the allegation of sexual assault is just a cover story, said Lindquist, who pointed out that all the defendants and the victim have lengthy criminal records. In either case, we have a kidnapping and brutal murder.
The evidence shows Barker was robbed of his watch and his wallet and someone tied a red bandanna around part of his neck, possibly indicating he was killed by someone with affiliations to a local street gang that favors the color red, Lindquist said.
Mahaffey might have ties to that gang, Lindquist added.
Barker apparently was bound and beaten at a house in South Tacoma before King drove him to Graham at the direction of Powell, court records show. Barker was still alive when they got to Graham, King told detectives.
King said Barker got out of the car and walked away with Powell, court records show. It appears this is the location where Barkers body was found.