4 arrested, fifth suspect sought in beating, strangulation of man

4 arrested, fifth suspect sought in beating, strangulation of man
TACOMA, Wash. -- Four people have been arrested and a fifth suspect is being sought in the death of a man found bound, brutally beaten and strangled outside a Graham home.

Dean Barker was found dead outside a vacant home in the 22200 block of 124th Ave. E. on the night of Sept. 8. Investigators said 51-year-old Barker's hands were bound behind his back, his mouth taped shut and a red bandanna tied around his neck. An autopsy revealed he had been beaten and strangled.

Four people -- Angela King, 24; William Barry, 33; Justin Mahaffey, 23; and a 17-year-old suspect whom KOMO has chosen not to identify-- are being held on $2 million bail. They have not been charged.

Police are also seeking 30-year-old Jeffrey W. Powell, II, who has been charged with first-degree murder, first-degree robbery and kidnapping in the first degree. A warrant has been issued for his arrested

When questioned by investigators, several of the suspects said they abducted and beat Barker because they believe he had molested a toddler, according to the statement of probable case. One suspect claimed Barker had also sexually assaulted a woman.

However, Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist said the suspects' claim of vigilante justice for the victim's alleged sex crimes may not be true as investigators have not found any evidence to support either claim.

"Why wait until weeks after the alleged sexual assault? Why take the victim's watch? Why steal the victim's money?" said Lindquist.

After the beating, the suspects took Barker's wallet and split the cash, they told investigators. They also tied a red bandanna around his neck to "mark him, as Mahaffey belongs to a blood gang, the statement said.

The 17-year-old suspect said she participated in the beating, but did not accompany the others to the home where the victim was abandoned. King said she went to the Graham home, but stayed in the car while Mahaffey and Powell walked Barker out of the car. She said Barker was still alive when she and Mahaffey left the scene.

The four suspects are due in court on Tuesday.