Murder suspect Joseph Wayne Barker

ROBERT C. REED/HICKORY DAILY RECORD: Murder suspect Joseph Wayne Barker made his first appearance before Catawba County District Court Judge David W. Aycock on Friday morning.

A Vale man charged with the murder of his wife will appear in Catawba County Superior Court the week of June 24.

Joseph Wayne Barker fled after the April 23 shooting death of Crystal Johnson Barker at their Vale home, according to previous Hickory Daily Record articles.

Barker was found in a wooded area in Transylvania County two days later.

According to Capt. Corina Fletcher of the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office, the couple’s two teenage children were in the house during the shooting.

A Catawba County Sheriff’s Office press release said a third party called police and said their family member was being held at gunpoint inside a room at the Vale home. The Catawba County Special Tactics and Response Team (STAR) found Crystal Barker dead inside the home.

As of June 21, Joseph Barker has not been issued a bond.

Court documents indicate Barker may have retained his own counsel.

He is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

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Jordan Hensley is the court reporter at the Hickory Daily Record. ​

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