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Figure in Burkheimer killing going back to prison

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By Diana Hefley
Herald Writer
EVERETT -- An ex-con who took part in the 2002 kidnap of a Marysville teenager is headed back to prison and he's going there with strike number two on his record.
Jeff Barth spent years behind bars for standing by and doing nothing as a band of thugs beat, kidnapped and eventually killed Rachel Burkheimer. This time Barth is going to prison for a violent attack on his girlfriend.
It is his second domestic violence conviction since his release in August 2011.
Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Thomas Wynne on Tuesday sentenced Barth to nearly five years in prison. The defendant pleaded guilty last month to second-degree domestic violence assault with a deadly weapon.
He was accused of holding a knife to his girlfriend's throat after he slapped and choked her. She reported to police that he told her "you're going to die today (expletive)," court papers said.
In exchange for his plea, prosecutors agreed not to charge Barth with a slew of other crimes and misdemeanors, including witness tampering and violating court orders that banned him from contacting the victim.
Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Katie Wetmore had Barth's phone privileges taken away last month after she learned that he'd called the victim more than a hundred times from jail. A judge was told that the calls were welcomed by the victim.
The woman on Tuesday asked Wynne to lift the 10-year no-contact order, saying that she wanted to come to "grips with it" on her own time. She also told the judge that she didn't agree with the sentence.
Prosecutors said the woman provided a letter, recanting the version of events she told police Feb. 25. In court records, Wetmore alleged that Barth and his mother urged the woman to submit the false letter. Barth's mother later was arrested for investigation of witness tampering in connection with the case. No charges were ever filed.
Barth on Tuesday asked the judge to "respect" the victim's wishes.
Wynne, however, declined to lift the no-contact order. He pointed to Barth's past crimes and the allegations that he called up the victim repeatedly despite a court order.
The judge also reminded Barth that he now has two strikes under the state's persistent offender law. If Barth, 32, is convicted of another serious offense, he'd face a mandatory life sentence in prison.
Barth was confronted with his past on Tuesday.
Snohomish County sheriff's detective Brad Pince was in the courtroom as Barth was led away. Pince was the lead investigator in the Burkheimer slaying.
In 2002, the girl was lured to a south Everett duplex, tied up and beaten. She was stuffed in a hockey bag and driven to east Snohomish County, where she was shot to death.
Barth was accused of doing nothing to help Burkheimer. He also was accused of taunting the girl while she was tied up.
But Barth cut a deal with prosecutors, agreeing to testify against his former friends, including the shooter. For his cooperation and guilty plea, prosecutors dropped the murder charge against him.
He was sentenced to nearly a decade in prison.
Barth racked up 27 infractions while behind bars. He wasn't able to follow the rules once he was released, either. Last year, he failed to report to his community corrections officer and then was arrested for assaulting his now ex-wife. She alleged that Barth threatened her life if she cooperated with police. Barth pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor assault and escape from community custody. He served two months in jail.
His freedom was short-lived. He was arrested again in February for the assault on his new girlfriend.
Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463;
Story tags » EverettPunishmentAssault

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