North Carolina National Guard soldier, Rhett Barlow, charged in murder-for-hire plot to avenge mom’s death

by NEW YORK DIGITAL NEWS



A National Guardsman tried to hire a hitman and purchase multiple guns in an elaborate plot to kill the man who fatally struck his mom’s car nearly eight years ago.

Rhett Michael Barlow, 22, was arrested at Fort Liberty on Jan. 6 for soliciting to commit the first-degree murder of Donald Caulder, Jr., the Wake Forest Police Department said in a statement.

Barlow allegedly tried to hire a hitman on Nov. 28, 2023, to kill Caulder, according to an arrest warrant issued on Jan. 5, and obtained by The Post.

The same day he attempted to hire the hitman, Barlow purchased an AR-15 Springfield Rifle along with a second gun, prosecutors revealed on Monday, according to WRAL.

He had also requested a transfer with the Army to a post closer to Caulder.

“Caulder was involved in a fatal motor vehicle crash along Capital Boulevard/US 1 in Wake Forest that claimed the life of Barlow’s mother, Michelle,” the WFPD’s statement read.

Caulder was driving a dump truck when he failed to slow down and slammed into the back of Michelle Barlow’s minivan, killing the mother of two, on March 22, 2016.

Rhett Michael Barlow was arrested on Jan. 6 after he allegedly tried to hire a hitman to kill the man who fatally struck his mother’s car in 2016. Wake Forest, N.C., Police Department
Donald Caulder Jr. was arrested and charged in the death of Michelle Barlow after he drove into her minivan with the dump truck he was driving on March 22, 2016. Scotland County Jail

The 29-year-old was arrested and charged with misdemeanor death by motor vehicle.

He pleaded guilty to the charge 10 months later and was handed a suspended sentence with 12 months probation.

Authorities believe driver fatigue or distraction caused the fatal crash, according to WRAL.

Barlow, who was at Fort Liberty for training with the North Carolina National Guard, is a member of the 130th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade and has been a guardsman since 2019, the outlet reported.

Barlow was arrested by the US Army Criminal Investigation Division and subsequently handed over to the Wake Forest police before being booked into Wake County Detention Center. WRAL News
Michelle Barlow died of her injuries she suffered in the “chain reaction” crash on US 1/Capital Boulevard. WRAL
Caulder was driving a dump truck when he failed to slow down and slammed into the back of Michelle Barlow’s minivan, killing the mother of two, on March 22, 2016. WRAL News

He was taken into custody by the US Army Criminal Investigation Division and subsequently handed over to the Wake Forest police.

Barlow was booked on the first-degree felony charge and is at the Wake County Detention Center on a $1 million bond, according to police and jail records.

The man whom Barlow attempted to hire, will not be charged as he reported Barlow to the police.

During his initial court appearance on Monday, a judge ordered Barlow to remain in jail on the $1 million bond and undergo a mental health assessment, according to court docs.

A disposition hearing in his case is scheduled for Jan. 29.

Michelle Barlow was an English teacher at Wake Forest High School prior to her death. WRAL
Rhett Barlow, alongside his father and sister and Michelle Barlow’s memorial service following her death in 2016.

In April, a Tennessee Air National Guardsman was arrested after applying to be a hitman on a fake website.

Josiah Ernesto Garcia, 21, was charged with the use of interstate facilities in the commission of murder-for-hire by using the fake hitman website “Rentahitman.com.”



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