Final suspect in McAllen beating death pleads guilty; gets 8 years

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Daniel Barker

The final suspect in the 2020 beating death of a local man has pleaded guilty and received a sentence of eight years in prison.

Daniel Barker, a 23-year-old Mission resident, pleaded guilty on Aug. 7 to a lesser charge of manslaughter for the Aug. 29, 2020 killing of 54-year-old Ricky Dowal Etheridge.

Barker was charged along with Jose Luis Sanchez Jr. and 40-year-old Pharr resident Gilbert Daniel Garren, who have also both pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter.

All of the men had initially been charged with murder.

Both Sanchez and Garren were sentenced to 18 years in prison.

However, there is still one suspect on the run, Rene Everrett Casas, who was 47 years old when Etheridge was killed. He has a warrant for murder. Anyone with information about Casas’ whereabouts or the murder is asked to call McAllen Crime Stoppers at (956) 687-TIPS (8477). Tips can also be anonymously submitted through the smartphone app P3 TIPS. A cash reward may be available if information leads to an arrest.

Probable cause affidavits indicate that Etheridge had been restrained and assaulted prior to his death. He was found two days after being killed.

The affidavits indicate that investigators believe the men killed Etheridge over a drug theft.

The crime happened at an apartment in the 1000 block of North 15th Street in McAllen.

Authorities found Etheridge’s body on Sept. 1, 2020 after his girlfriend called in a welfare concern.