Man pleads guilty in Gig Harbor murder-for-hire plot

Staff writerOctober 29, 2013 

A man who accepted $10,000 from a Gig Harbor woman to kill her son-in-law pleaded guilty Tuesday to second-degree murder. 

Luis Barker’s plea deal also included a firearm enhancement, which will add years to his prison sentence. He is to be sentenced Nov. 15, and faces 26 to 34 years in prison, Pierce County deputy prosecutor Jared Ausserer said. 

Barker was arrested in August 2012 after sheriff’s detectives had the woman who hired him, Jacqueline Ray, wear a hidden recorder and record Barker talking about what happened the night her son-in-law, Leon Baucham Jr., was killed. 

Ray pleaded guilty to first-degree murder earlier this year.

Baucham’s body was found July 12, 2012, just up the road from Ray’s home in the 14900 block of 82nd Avenue Northwest.  His wrists, ankles and eyes were covered with duct tape,  and he had been shot in the back.

Detectives quickly zeroed in on Ray, who eventually confessed that she asked Barker to kill her son-in-law because he allegedly was abusing her daughter. Ray’s daughter obtained a no-contact order against Baucham after he broke her eye socket but continued trying to work on their relationship, occasionally allowing her husband to stay in their home, according to court records. 

Ray told detectives she feared Baucham would kill her daughter and gave Barker $10,000 and the keys to her daughter’s house.

When Bauchum called Ray looking for his wife July 11, 2012, Ray lured him to her home with the false promise of seeing her daughter. She then called Barker, who brought another man to confront Baucham. 

A scuffle broke out between the men and Ray reported hearing a single gunshot before Barker came inside to ask for Ray’s car keys and a tarp to contain the blood.

Detectives believe the second man might have been a 23-year-old Puyallup man, who was arrested in August in connection with the killing. Prosecutors decided against charging the man with murder, saying they did not have enough evidence. 

He was charged with drug possession after jailers allegedly found Percocet pills on the man when he was being booked. He did not have a valid prescription for he drug, court records show. The man pleaded not guilty to the charge.

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