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Friend of Cherokee Co. murder victim: I had "nothing to do with this"

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DIALVILLE (KYTX) -

We're learning more about what lead up to the murder in Cherokee County this week, in which 52-year-old Rebecca Barker allegedly admitted to killing her 76-year-old husband Jerry.

But there's another woman who's gotten caught between grieving family members and the Barkers themselves.

Tammy Reil has faced accusations of involvement in the crime from Jerry's sons and, she said, through social media. Much of the criticism has been rooted in documents potentially placing Reil in authority and turning her into an heir.

"I'm not next in line," Reil said outside the store she operated for the Barkers in Dialville. "[Rebecca] is. And she's still his wife and she's still innocent until proven guilty."

Essentially, a signature on a dotted line inside those legal documents dragged Reil into the middle of a murder investigation.

"I just don't know what to do," she said.

Between a power of attorney agreement and a will, Jerry's sons decided Reil may have been working with Rebecca on a plan to kill their dad.

"Right before a murder when you have someone start doing power of attorneys, it seems to be a premeditated type thing," Jerry Barker Jr. said Thursday.

"They're saying that I had something to do with it," Reil said. "I ain't going nothing to do with this at all. I'm just as shocked as devastated as everyone else. Maybe a little bit more."

To top it all off the brothers are angry about Rebecca's past--what investigators called attempted murder--with her first husband in 1996.

Reil said It was unfair to bring it back up.

"There was a reason behind [shooting him]," she said. "And it was a reason where you would have done the same thing if it had been you in your situation and you had a child."

In the days since Jerry's murder Reil said Jerry's three sons have been more interested in whatever valuables and paperwork they could find inside the house. The sons said they're trying to keep those items from Reil, even though they were cut out of the will.

The sons accused Reil of standing in the way of burial plans. She said everyone involved wants Jerry buried next to his first wife.

Riel added that her invitation for the brothers to join her at the funeral home was ignored.

Looking back on the day Jerry died, she called it unreal.

"I was jut like 'Oh my God Rebecca, what happened?' And she was just like 'I couldn't take it anymore,'" Riel said. "She was just like 'I couldn't take it. And he told me to do it and I did it.'">

Riel said all the other nights that ended in anger had always been followed by forgiveness.

"I didn't expect this at all," she said. "I mean I knew that they drank a lot. And I knew that they did fight a lot. There were other issues. But I didn't expect this."

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