Beckford pleads guilty to Manslaughter, found guilty of Tampering
YAKIMA, Wash. - The jury in State vs. Barry Beckford trial has found Beckford guilty of Tampering with Witnesses after the jury was unable to reach a verdict on a murder count.
Beckford was found guilty May 10 on two counts of Tampering with Witnesses which involved his two sons who were ages seven and 11 at the time of the murder of his wife according to a press release from Joseph Brusic, Yakima County Prosecutor.
Beckford was on trial for the murder of his wife, Debbie Bailey, which occurred at the Naches Selah Grade on February 16, 1997.
According to reports, eight jurors believed Beckford murdered his wife beyond a reasonable doubt, and four were not persuaded.
Barry Beckford pleaded guilty on the morning of May 10 to amended charges of second degree Manslaughter and Domestic Violence.
The defendant's sentencing range for Tampering and Manslaughter is 21-27 months, according to reports.
Officials with the Yakima County Prosecuting Attorney's Office (YCPAO) said the decision to not retry Barry Beckford for murder was exceptionally difficult.
Joe Brusic, prosecuting attorney, said that the amount of time and preparation the trail took played a part in deciding not to retry.
"I'm not going to sit here tell the Yakima county and everyone here that it is fair. It's not. At the same time, we have to be realistic in our ability to successfully present evidence," he said.
Court papers said the murder retrial was scheduled for June 5, 2017.
While the State believes that the evidence obtained over the past 20 years points to Beckford's guilt, a retrial could cause uncertain results.
YCPAO authorities also said the defendant was not questioned for previous convictions of federal marijuana charges, possession of stolen property, arson, and perjury during the trial due to the age of these convictions.
Brusic stated the decision to move forward without a retrial was discussed with the Sheriffs Office and the victim's family.
The State is commending the Sheriff s Office for their work through the years in seeing this case to trial, as well as the cooperation of the witnesses.
YCPAO authorities said Beckford's sentencing is currently set for Tuesday, May 16, 2017 at 9 a.m.