The Pierce County prosecutor on Wednesday charged an eighth person in the murder of a man whose body was found outside a vacant home in Graham. Police, however, still have no clear motive in the killing.
Kenneth Bierd, 50, was charged with first degree murder, robbery and kidnapping in the death of 51-year-old Dean Barker. Seven other defendants - John Brown, 60, William Barry, 33, Aileenah Horton, 17, Angela King, 32, Justin Mahaffey, 23, Jeffrey Powell II, 30, and Joshua Stevens, 23 - were also charged in the murder earlier this month.
"The motives for this kidnapping and brutal murder remain murky and conflicting," said Prosecutor Mark Lindquist. "What we know is that all eight defendants were involved in a robbery and kidnapping that led to murder. All participated in it, no one stopped it."
Prosecutors say on September 7 Barker and some of the defendants had gathered outside of one of the defendant's home. Barry began assaulting Barker and others joined in on the attack, stealing Barker's wallet, watch and car. After dividing up the cash, they loaded Barker, who was still alive, into an SUV and drove away. They picked up Bierd, who kept Barker from escaping by holding a bike chain and lock around him.
According to Bierd, Barker begged for his life, saying, "You don't have to do this." After they arrived at the vacant home in Graham, Barker was taken out of the car and strangled to death.
Pierce County deputies found Barker's body on September 8 after neighbors called authorities. Barker was found face down, his hands tied behind his back and his mouth taped shut. An autopsy revealed he had been beaten and died from strangulation.
According to prosecutors, one of the defendants claimed Mahaffey, a reported member of the bloods street gang, "marked" the victim by tying a red bandana around his neck. Bierd claimed Mahaffey yelled at Barker about being a "snitch" before strangling him to death.
Other defendants also claimed Barker was involved in a sexual assault and temporary disappearance of a child, but Pierce County prosecutors said there was no evidence to support these claims.
Bierd was being held in custody for failing to register as a sex offender. He was scheduled for arraignment Wednesday at 1:30 p.m.