Victim's sons say they feared Rebecca Barker would harm their father

Published: Feb. 27, 2014 at 7:54 PM CST|Updated: Oct. 7, 2014 at 5:07 PM CDT
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Rebecca Lynn Osborne in a 2004 mugshot (Source: Liberty County Jail)
Rebecca Lynn Osborne in a 2004 mugshot (Source: Liberty County Jail)
Jerry Barker (Family Photo)
Jerry Barker (Family Photo)

CHEROKEE COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - Authorities have identified the woman accused of shooting and killing her 76-year-old husband on Wednesday in Cherokee County.

52-year-old Rebecca Barker is charged with first degree murder and is being held on $500,000 bond.

According to Barker's arrest affidavit, when deputies arrived on the scene, they attempted to read her her rights. As her rights were being read, Barker kept repeating, "I don't know." She was then taken to the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office for questioning.

During questioning, Barker said that her husband had been verbally abusing her all day. She went on to say she couldn't take it anymore, so she shot him with a .357 Magnum.

The victim, identified as Jerry Barker by his son, suffered a single gunshot wound to the abdomen. His son, Jerry Michael Barker, said that Rebecca kept some of them at arm's length.

"She kind of kept us away. 'You come on our property and we will shoot you.' That's pretty drastic," he said.

This isn't the first time Rebecca Barker has faced charges for shooting her husband.

Documents in the Liberty County District Clerk's office show Rebecca Barker, then Rebecca Lynn Osborne, was indicted for the attempted murder of her then-husband, John Osborne, in September 1996.

Rebecca Barker shot Osborne with a firearm in April 15, 1996, according to the paperwork, and a restraining order was filed the next day.

Rebecca Barker accepted a plea deal in that case and was sentenced to 180 days in jail with time served, paid a fine and received deferred adjudication.

"She's still on the street married to my father and I'd like to know, and law enforcement to explain how that could happen," said Jerry Michael Barker of his stepmother's previous criminal history.

"If she were to get away with this, she would probably go to the next city and do it again," Jerry Michael said.

A few weeks ago, the family became suspicious of the victims behavior and called Cherokee County Sheriff's Office to look into it.

"My dad was in excellent shape. I showed up one day with my grand babies and we visited with him. He was good and strong," said the victim's son, Gary.

But then...

"My dad turned to the worst. Shaking like a rag, like he had some type of Parkinson's disease. He had all of the wrong medicines in his system, not functional and couldn't think for himself. She was running the show," Gary added.

That's when they asked for help. "Please pull my father from this. Pull him away and do an evaluation to where it's safe to be back around these people. I believe that this lady could probably murder my father," Gary said he told authorities.

However, the sheriff says, as far as his department could tell, Jerry Barker was all right.

"We had been called to the house and to the store in Dialville. But he was evaluated and was released," Sheriff James Campbell said.

Now, a day after his father's death, Jerry Michael Barker says his premonition about Rebecca was right. "I believe that this lady could murder my father. Well...she did murder my father."

In October of 2013, Jerry Barker gave power of attorney to his wife Rebecca Barker and Tammy Reil, who is not a relative of the family. With that in place, the victim's sons do not have access to the family home, assets or the ability to make funeral arrangements.

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