Wednesday, October 21, 2020
Oct. 21, 2020

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Woman pleads guilty to manslaughter in Hockinson homicide

Ashley Lorraine Barry, four co-defendants were charged in the death of Raymond Brandon

By , Columbian Breaking News Reporter
Published:

A woman charged in connection with the beating and fatal shooting of Raymond Brandon, whose body was found in April 2017 in a shed at a Hockinson residence, pleaded guilty Wednesday to first-degree manslaughter.

Ashley Lorraine Barry, 33, was charged in Clark County Superior Court with first-degree kidnapping and first-degree robbery. But Deputy Prosecutor Lauren Boyd told Judge Bernard Veljacic that first- and second-degree murder charges likely would have been added to Barry’s case had it gone to trial.

Prosecutors say Barry conspired with four co-defendants to lure Brandon, 34, and his girlfriend, Allison Fields, to the residence at 15308 N.E. 172nd Ave. to settle a debt over a Subaru Forester he was driving. Brandon’s body was found April 27, 2017, nearly a week after he was killed there.

Barry’s co-defendants are John Michael West, 45, Neil Allen Alway, 41, and Ashley Wideman, 25, all transients, and Traci Lynn Mendez, 43, court records show.

According to a probable cause affidavit, Brandon and Fields arrived at Mendez’s house on the morning of April 20, 2017, and were ambushed by the group. A chaotic confrontation ensued, and Alway and West led Brandon outside where he was attacked and fatally shot in the chest. Fields was forced to stay with the group or risk being killed herself.

Barry helped keep Fields inside the home and prevented her from escaping or calling police, Boyd told Veljacic. Afterward, Mendez drove the group and Fields in her SUV to a farm off Northeast 119th Street, and Fields eventually escaped, court records say.

West, Mendez and Wideman have entered into cooperation agreements with the state. Their agreements stipulate that they testify against their alleged accomplices. They won’t be sentenced until the remaining defendant, Alway, is tried.

For West, Mendez and Wideman, the state is recommending sentences of about 18 years, 11 years and time served, respectively.

Barry’s agreement does not require her to testify. The prosecution is recommending a sentence of about 12 years in prison; sentencing is set for Aug. 26. Another criminal case against Barry was dismissed with prejudice, meaning it cannot be refiled, as part of the agreement.

In that case, a Vancouver police officer arrested Alway and Barry on April 25, 2017, on suspicion of possession of a stolen vehicle — a Jeep Wrangler. Alway was in possession of a black .40-caliber semi-automatic handgun and was charged with being a felon in possession of a weapon. Barry was later charged with second-degree identity theft for giving police her sister’s name in February 2017 to avoid arrest on a warrant, court records say.

A ballistics test found that the bullet retrieved from Brandon’s body matched the firearm Alway possessed, Boyd said.

Barry was in custody when police connected her to Brandon’s death.

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