Pierce County prosecutors today 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 contend Powell and at least four other people were involved in the abduction, robbery, beating and strangulation of Dean Barker, 51, whose body was found outside a new home for sale in the 22200 block of 124th Avenue East on Sept. 8.
Three of those people – William Barrry, 34; Angela King, 24; and Justin Mahaffey, 23 – made a preliminary appearance in Superior Court on this afternoon 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 Tuesday, and deputy prosecutor Phil Sorenson said more arrests could be made in the case.
What prompted Barker’s killing remained in question this afternoon.
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 Barry’s 3-year-old daughter the day he was abducted, Horton told authorities.
The group decided to kidnap and attack him to avenge those alleged sex crimes, both Horton and King told detectives.
Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist said today there is no evidence Barker sexually assaulted the 3-year-old. Lindquist also said there is no evidence corroborating the claims by Horton and King that Barker sexually assaulted King.
“It’s 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 all the defendants and the victim have lengthy criminal records. “In either case, we have a kidnapping and brutal murder.”
The evidence shows that Barker was robbed of his watch and his wallet and that someone tied a red bandana around part of his body, 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.