Catawba man charged with murder for killing wife appears in court for first time

Man charged in wife's murder

CATAWBA COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - A man, who police say spent more than 30 hours in the woods hiding from officers after his wife was killed, appeared in court for the first time Friday morning.

Joseph Barker is charged with murder in the death of 43-year-old Crystal Johnson Barker. On June 24, officials with the Catawba County Superior Court announced that they would not pursue the death penalty in this case.

A lot of people who live close to the murder scene, in an area on Plateau Road near Rock Creek Drive in Vale, North Carolina, were worried that Barker was going to somehow get away from officers during that man-hunt.

Barker walked into the Catawba courtroom with a deputy right behind him and he looked completely out of it. More deputies stood off to the side of him and I’m told there was more security than normal.

Joseph answered the judge with just a few mumbles. The judge told him that he would be given an attorney by the court and has a probable cause hearing for May 17th.

“The world is crazy. I just don’t know anymore,” said Elizaebth Ray who lives close to the Barkers.

Ray said peace has been brought to her and the rest of the community now that Barker is locked up.

“He won’t hopefully do this to anybody else,” she continued.

She also said her heart is with the couple’s two kids who were inside the home when Crystal Barker was shot and killed.

“Not only has he taken their mother, they now, don’t have a father either,” Ray said.

Investigators said the kids probably didn’t see the shooting, but told officers what they heard.

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