Dayton man convicted of murder in case where car crashed into playground

Carson D. Barker
Carson D. Barker

Credit: Montgomery County Jail mug of Carson Barker

Credit: Montgomery County Jail mug of Carson Barker

A Dayton man who took the stand in his own defense was convicted Friday of murder and other charges by a jury.

Carson Barker, 35, was convicted in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court on murder, felonious assault and discharging a weapon near a prohibited premise. A jury also found Barker not guilty on two tampering with evidence charges.

He claimed he was acting in self-defense when he shot and killed Christopher Campbell, 42, on May 26, 2019.

ExploreDayton murder suspect takes stand in own defense

Authorities alleged Barker shot Campbell near West Second and North Antioch streets. Campbell was able to drive away from the scene before crashing into the playground behind Dayton Boys Prep Academy. He died the next day.

Barker took the stand on Thursday and told the jury that he saw Campbell as an uncle and that Campbell was friends with his stepfather. He said Campbell became distant in 2019 and lodged an accusation about a relative of Barker’s snitching on him about dealing drugs.

He said that Campbell had a violent reputation and that the man and his group of associates began stalking him. He said Campbell was parked outside his mom’s house before the shooting and that he had approached him to ask him to stop following him.

“I’m looking at him and he looks over at me and he pulls his gun out,” Barker said.

“I pulled my gun and shot and it happened so fast and I thought I missed.”

Prosecutors during closing argument called Barker’s story “unbelievable.” They said Barker, as part of his self defense claim, had a duty to retreat but instead “ambushed” Campbell.

“He did not have reasonable grounds to believe or an honest belief that he was in danger,” prosecutors said.

They argued that if Campbell was really stalking Barker, and Barker was scared of the man, he wouldn’t have approached him. They also noted that Barker didn’t call police before or after the shooting, instead opting to go back to his home and cook dinner.

A next court date in the case was set for July 2.