Cedaredge murder suspect held on $1 million bond

Gene Barker (DCSO)

The man accused of killing a person who was found dead in a Cedaredge driveway on June 16 is being held on a $1 million cash-only bond — at least for now.

Gene Barker, 61, was arrested the morning of June 17 on suspicion of second-degree murder.

The deceased had not been publicly identified as of Friday afternoon; the coroner was still notifying next of kin. Also, at the time of Barker’s court advisement, prosecutors hadn’t been able to reach all family members to hear their position on bail.

Cedaredge Police Department social media posts said officers on routine patrol discovered a deceased man in a private driveway in the 200 block of SW Third Street the evening of June 16.

The manner of death is presumed homicide — “a safe bet,” said Delta County Sheriff Mark Taylor, whose agency is assisting Cedaredge PD, along with the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. The cause of death was not immediately available.

Authorities have not said what Barker’s connection to the deceased was.

Barker’s criminal history is limited to non-felonies several years ago, Deputy District Attorney Joshua Dougherty said Friday, but the nature of this case requires a high bond. He asked Chief Judge Steven Patrick to impose a $1 million, cash-only bond.

“I think that would be appropriate,” Dougherty said.

Public defender Patrick Crane pointed to a pretrial services report and risk assessment tool showing a scanty criminal history — and nothing indicating the level of violence alleged the in the affidavit.

He said Barker has lived in the Delta area since 2008, owns a home and, during the pendency of his case, can live with his mother. There was nothing in Barker’s history to indicate failures to appear in court.

“Obviously, Mr. Barker is presumed innocent. We should not be setting bond purely on allegations or holding somebody in custody on allegations alone,” said Crane.

All relevant factors support a bond Barker might reasonably post, and his release with conditions would assure his continued appearance in court, the defense attorney said. Crane said conditions could include GPS monitoring, intensive supervision and court-ordered drug/alcohol testing if appropriate.

Dougherty in response reiterated the nature of the facts alleged.

“Given the gravity” of the allegations, Patrick said he was setting a “substantial” bond: the $1 million, cash-only bail prosecutors requested. He then set a new hearing for Tuesday, June 21. “Until Tuesday, that is going to be the status of the bond, with respect to this matter,” the judge said.

Crane asked that prosecutors be required to file formal charges against Barker within a week and objected to Dougherty’s request for more time. Crane said the DA’s Office can amend charges at any time, but if prosecutors aren’t prepared to prosecute, the arrest should have been delayed until they were.

“This is a pretty serious charge,” the judge said, ordering that charges be filed in seven days. If the DA’s Office doesn’t believe that’s possible, then it should file a motion explaining why, Patrick said.

Barker’s arrest capped off a violent week in Delta County.

Tuesday, a Delta man was arrested on allegations of attempted murder for allegedly stabbing a woman three times. On Wednesday, a pursuit suspect allegedly threatened the deputy arresting him and appeared to reach behind himself as if for a weapon, Taylor said. Deputies reportedly recovered an AR-15 from the vehicle he was driving.


(Our initial report from the morning of June 17 follows below):

Delta County Sheriff Mark Taylor said it's "a safe bet" that a fatality in Cedaredge Thursday evening is a homicide.

The deceased's identification is pending notification of next of kin, Delta County Coroner Lance Boren said.

According to Delta Combined Court records, a Gene Barker was on the docket for advisement on allegations of second-degree murder, with an offense date of Thursday, June 16, in Cedaredge. Formal charges have not been filed.

Cedaredge Police Department officers responded to the 200 block of SW Third Street in Cedaredge at about 6 p.m. Thursday. According to CPD's later social media post, a man was found dead in a private driveway during a routine patrol. A person was arrested at a nearby home Friday morning.

Early reports from neighbors indicated that the incident was quiet, with one resident noting some raised voices which she had assumed came from the town park a block northwest.

Taylor said not much is known on his end at this time regarding the situation but that DCSO investigators were on the case until approximately 4 a.m. Friday. 

Later Friday, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation reportedly took on the homicide investigation.

This story is developing and will be updated as information becomes available.

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