Two men sentenced to prison for their roles in death of Lakewood man

Staff writerMarch 7, 2014 

Two men who participated in the kidnapping and murder of a Lakewood man two years ago were sentenced to prison terms Friday.

Superior Court Judge Kathryn Nelson sentenced Kenneth Bierd, 52, to 10 years, four months in prison in the killing of Dean Barker. Bierd pleaded guilty last year to first-degree manslaughter in the case.

Joshua Stevens, 24, pleaded guilty Friday to first-degree robbery and first-degree kidnapping. Nelson sentenced him to six years, five months in prison.

Stevens originally was charged with first-degree murder in Barker's death but struck a deal with prosecutors that saw that charge dismissed if he cooperated in the investigation.

Deputy prosecutor James Schacht told Nelson that Stevens held up his end of the bargain, and he recommended the low-end sentence.

Stevens apologized to Barker's family on Friday.

Eight people in all were charged in the case. All have been convicted. One, Jeffrey Wayne Powell III, remains to be sentenced. 

Barker, 51, was abducted from a Tacoma house on Sept. 7, 2012, tied up, driven to Graham and strangled to death. A passerby found his body outside a house for sale the morning of September 8.

The group was angry with Barker, in part because one of them accused him of having something to do with the temporary disappearance of a young girl. There also were allegations that Barker had sexually assaulted a woman in the group.

Authorities found no evidence that either of those accusations was true.

Barker was beaten and robbed in Tacoma before being driven to Graham and killed, court records show.

Bierd went along for Barker's last ride. He wrote in court documents that he didn't take part in the killing but didn't do anything to stop it.

Stevens admitted to helping bind Barker with duct tape in Tacoma and stealing his watch, court records show.

Powell, 31, is to be sentenced next week. He previously pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter. Prosecutors will recommend a 17-year sentence.







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