Man (allegedly) solicits murder of mother's killer | Raleigh approves noise ordinance, demonstrations affected?
No. 53 — Dec. 31, 2023-Jan. 6, 2024
Raleigh man charged with soliciting murder of mother’s killer
Murder for hire: Police say Raleigh man sought killer to avenge mothers death - ABC11
Raleigh man arrested for trying to have someone kill driver involved in mother's death - WRAL
Son was seeking to have driver killed after mom died in Wake Forest crash in 2016, officials say - CBS17
Rhett Michael Barlow, Raleigh, has been charged with soliciting a Wake Forest man, Benjamin Miceli, to murder Donald Wayne Caulder, Jr., the driver who killed Barlow’s mother in a 2016 vehicular homicide.
Barlow was arrested today at the US Army Criminal Investigation Division office on Fort Liberty (formerly Fort Bragg). A Facebook profile apparently belonging to Barlow includes an image of him in an Army uniform.
2016 Vehicular Homicide
In 2016, Michelle Barlow was stopped in traffic on Capitol Boulevard in her minivan when a log-filled dump truck towing a bobcat driven by Caulder rear-ended her vehicle, crushing it into the rear of a tractor trailer and ending her life. As reported by the News & Observer, the State Highway Patrol’s investigation into the crash revealed that the electronic brakes on the trailer were not plugged into the truck, the battery for the trailer’s emergency breakaway system was missing, the bobcat was insufficiently secured to the trailer, and the logs in the dump truck were not secured.
911 operators had received a call earlier in the day, reporting that a vehicle matching the description of Caulder’s truck and trailer was driving erratically on I-40, and was “running people off the road”. However, police were not able to stop Caulder before he hit and killed Michelle Barlow.
In addition, Caulder had at least eight driving-related violations between 2008 and 2016, including two separate incidents of citations in January 2016 for Unsafe Tires in one instance, and expired or missing registration and inspection in another.
Despite these aggravating factors, Caulder was only charged with Misdemeanor Death by Vehicle, and Failure to Reduce Speed.
In 2017, Caulder plead guilty to Misdemeanor Death by Vehicle, a Class A1 misdemeanor, and received an “intermediate” sentence with a minimum 75 days in jail, and 12 months probation with 5 days special probation in custody.
Compare this to Landen Glass, who killed an 11-year-old dancer in the 2022 Raleigh Christmas Parade after the brakes on his modified truck failed. In addition to misdemeanor charges including Misdemeanor Death by Vehicle and Failure to Reduce Speed, Glass was indicted by a Grand Jury and faces a charge of Involuntary Manslaughter, a Class F felony.
Solicitation to Commit First Degree Murder
As Barlow was arrested and charged today, not much is known about the details of the allegations against him.
The crime he has been charged with, Solicitation to Commit First Degree Murder, is a Class C felony under NC G.S. § 14-2.6. The punishment for a Class C felony is between 44 and 182 months in prison, depending on criminal history and the presence of aggravating or mitigating factors.
Court filings from a successful civil lawsuit over Michelle Barlow’s death show that around the time of the alleged offense listed on the arrest warrant (November 28, 2023), Rhett Barlow exchanged $101,555.00 for future payments from a structured settlement, which he would have otherwise received in four payments spread out between 2026 and 2041. It is entirely speculation on my part that this could have any relation to the charge Barlow is facing.
Raleigh updates noise ordinance to “reasonable person” standard
Think Raleigh’s too raucous? City adopts rules, fines for noise violations. - N&O
Raleigh updated noise ordinance to take effect in February: 'Reasonable person standards' - ABC11
AN ORDINANCE TO AMEND THE CITY OF RALEIGH NOISE REGULATIONS. - City of Raleigh
The Raleigh City Council has voted to replace the old decibel based noise ordinance with a new “reasonable person standard” noise ordinance. The city experienced difficulty in properly and accurately measuring decibels to appropriately enforce the prior ordinance.
I am particularly interested in how this statue will change the enforcement of the noise ordinance against the use of amplification at protests/demonstrations. Under the new standard, the daytime use of bullhorns or personal amplification devices as part of a demonstration would be only be prohibited if it reaches the level of loudness to be “plainly audible” by a “reasonable person” at 300 feet away.
For instance, I am aware that the police have previously limited the use of amplification by anti-abortion demonstrators at the “A Preferred Women's Health Center” abortion clinic in Raleigh under the decibel based noise ordinance. In this situation, the public right-of-way the demonstrators gather on is approximately 100 feet away from the entrance to the clinic. Under the new ordinance, it seems that the demonstrators would be permitted to use sufficient amplification to render their message audible at that distance, as long as the demonstration is occurring during the daytime.
Here’s the relevant section of the new ordinance:
Sec. 12-5007. PROHIBITED NOISES.
(p) The unreasonably loud and raucous use or operation on public places, City rights-ofway, or on public vehicular areas of any sound amplifier, bullhorn, loudspeaker, public address system, or other similar device, when operated in such a manner as to be plainly audible during nighttime hours at a distance of fifty (50) feet from any reasonable person, and during daytime hours, at a distance of three hundred (300) feet from any reasonable person, other than the player(s) or operator(s) of the device, and those who are voluntarily listening to the sound, and unreasonably disturbs a reasonable person is prohibited and is a violation of this section.
Want to get in touch? I appreciate to getting your tips, thoughts, feedback, etc: firstname.lastname@example.org