Luis Barker – hired gun, convicted murderer and 39-year-old father of two – said it was all a mistake, a reckless plan gone wrong.
He apologized for shooting Leon Bauchman dead last year. He didn’t mention the $10,000 he was paid by Bauchman’s mother-in-law for the job.
“I’m truly sorry for what I’ve done,” Barker said Friday before his sentencing in Pierce County Superior Court on a charge of second-degree murder. “I was manipulated into this whole thing, but I’m still responsible for my own actions.”
The apology didn’t count for much. Judge Linda Lee, siding with the recommendation from prosecutors, sentenced Barker to 34 years in prison.
“What has been shown to this court is complete and total disregard of life,” Lee said.
Bauchman’s family wasn’t happy. They wanted Barker charged with first-degree murder, which could have meant a longer sentence.
The murder-for-hire plot started with Jacqueline Rena Ray, 51, mother of Bauchman’s widow. Ray pleaded guilty last month to a charge of first-degree murder. She hasn’t been sentenced yet.
According to charging papers, Bauchman abused his wife. Ray wanted it stopped. She hired Barker to handle the job.
On July 11, 2012, Bauchman called Ray, looking for his estranged wife, assuming she was staying at Mom’s house near Gig Harbor. Ray told Bauchman to come over.
It was a trap. When Bauchman arrived, Barker and a second man ambushed him. Ray stepped outside. She heard begging and a gunshot. Investigators later found Bauchman’s body less than a mile from Ray’s house. His hands, feet and eyes were wrapped in duct tape.
Mark Quigley, Barker’s defense attorney, argued Friday for a shorter sentence, noting the history of abuse in the marriage.
“I don’t say that to justify the act,” Quigley said. “But the court needs a factual context as to how this crime came to be.”
The other man has not been charged in the case, but he was arrested on an unrelated charge in August. Prosecutors say they’re still investigating that angle.
Sean Robinson: 253-597-8486