Superior Court

Puyallup man arrested in murder case charged only with drug crime

Staff writerAugust 21, 2013 

A 23-year-old Puyallup man arrested last week in connection with a Gig Harbor homicide pleaded not guilty Wednesday to drug possession after prosecutors said they did not have enough evidence to charge him with murder.

Pierce County Superior Court Judge Jerry Costello reduced J.R. Child’s bail from $1 million to $20,000 upon learning Child would not be charged in the death of Leon Baucham Jr.

Deputy prosecutor Phil Sorensen said detectives continue to investigate Child’s alleged role in the homicide and that additional charges might be filed in the future.

Sheriff’s detectives arrested Child last week, saying they believed he might have supplied duct tape used to bind Baucham before he was shot July 12, 2012, and possibly was present when he was killed.

Prosecutors say Luis Barker shot Baucham at the behest of the victim’s mother-in-law, Jacqueline Ray, who allegedly wanted her son-in-law dead because she believed he was abusing her daughter and might kill her, court records show.

Ray allegedly gave Barker an $8,000 down payment for the hit with the promise of $2,000 more, records show.

Both Barker and Ray have pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder and await trial.

Ray told authorities Barker arrived at her home the day of the killing with another man. Detectives suspect that other man might have been Child, who was booked into the Pierce County Jail on Friday for investigation of homicide.

Jailers allegedly found Percocet pills on Child when he was being booked. He did not have a valid prescription for the drug, court records show.

The felony charged filed against him Wednesday stems from the Percocet discovery, charging papers state.

Adam Lynn: 253-597-8644

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