A con-artist kills her latest lover with his own gun, then vanishes.
In August of 1998, a woman calling herself Deianna Ray placed an ad in the personals section of a Louisiana newspaper. Deianna Ray was hardly being honest in the ad. In fact, her real name was not Deianna at all. It was Hazel Liotta Head. According to authorities, Deianna was a drifter who hitchhiked around the country looking for her next mark–a lonely man to latch onto and drain his bank account. That man happened to be Charles Barker, a recent widower who was devastated after the sudden loss of his wife of ten years. According to Charles’ daughter, Cindy Jefferson, Charles tried to overcome his depression with activities:
A casino on the Red River in Louisiana became Charles Barker’s latest diversion. He probably believed that he met Deianna by chance. But according to Ed Baswell of the Bossier Parish Sheriff’s Department, it’s likely that it was all a set up:
Less than a year after the death of his wife, Charles was swept up in a whirlwind romance with Deianna. According to Charles’s daughter, Jennifer Spoonts, Deianna moved into Charles’s home within days of their initial meeting:
One weekend, Jennifer made the nine-hour drive from her Austin home to meet her father’s new girlfriend:
A short time later, even Charles apparently began to share that opinion. According to his daughter, Charles admitted he was having trouble with Deianna, but refused to provide any details:
But that explanation never came. Shortly afterward, Jennifer tried calling her father to arrange another visit:
Charles’ sister, June, and her husband, drove over to see if there was a problem. According to Sheriff Baswell, when they arrived, they noticed the front door of Charles’s residence was open:
Charles had been dead for five days, killed by a single gunshot to the head. As Sheriff Baswell combed the crime scene, several observations were made:
Except for a few stock certificates, the safe was empty. Also missing was Charles Barker’s Lincoln town car and his girlfriend. Sheriff Baswell soon identified her as a con artist named Hazel Head:
A background check on Hazel Head revealed that she’d married as many as ten times and was known to use more than a dozen aliases. There was also an outstanding warrant for her arrest in Lincoln, Nebraska. There, she had allegedly burned down her boyfriend’s home, then fled before standing trial.