Two men plead not guilty in murder of Merced taxi driver

MERCED, Calif. (KFSN) -- Police reports are revealing disturbing new details about the murder of a popular Merced taxi driver. Court documents portray the murder as an attempted robbery that turned into a senseless shooting. Dean Barker, 59, was killed during an overnight shift on January 5th.

In the video, you'll see the parking lot where a nightmare began for the family of Barker, after the former Dos Palos police officer was shot in his taxi. His son was working at Mercy Medical Center that night.

Dean's son, Michael Barker, said, "I have flashbacks from when they brought him into the hospital, and I'm standing there, and I keep seeing him bleeding to death."

Merced police arrested Joseph Castrillo and Dante Woods for the murder, and now court documents paint a chilling picture of how it happened. Woods told detectives he planned to pay for the ride to an apartment complex, but Castrillo pulled out a revolver and hit Dean on the side of the face before shooting him once, and then two more times. Woods said the back doors were locked, so he crawled over the bleeding victim and out the driver's side then opened the door for Castrillo. Michael had told his father to use the child safety locks to keep customers from running away without paying.

Michael added, "In order to get out the way they did, they had to crawl over him, kick him out of the way while he's bleeding to death just to get out of the car, I was in shock. I just couldn't believe that part."

Another witness told police Castrillo admitted he planned to rob a taxi driver, but "messed up" and shot him. He said the 18-year-old was so scared that he ran off without taking any money. Castrillo did not confess, but 20-year-old Woods wrote an apology letter to Dean's family saying he's sorry and didn't know this would happen.

"I don't think much of it," Michael said. "I've sat in court and watched him, and to me it looks more like he and Castrillo are it's almost a game, they're smiling, they're happy."

Defense attorneys said both Woods and Castrillo declined to comment. Both men pleaded not guilty to murder on Monday and are scheduled to be back in court next month.

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