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Originally published April 4, 2011 at 8:17 PM | Page modified April 5, 2011 at 12:12 AM

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Girlfriend faces 'third strike' if convicted in Roy man's killing

Barbara Ann Clayton, of Roy, is facing her "third-strike" offense and could be sentenced to life in prison if she's found guilty of fatally shooting her boyfriend Friday night during a fight over another woman, according to Pierce County prosecutors. Clayton, 41, was charged Monday with first-degree murder.

Seattle Times staff reporter

Barbara Ann Clayton, of Roy, is facing her "third-strike" offense and could be sentenced to life in prison if she's found guilty of fatally shooting her boyfriend Friday night during a fight over another woman, according to Pierce County prosecutors.

Clayton, 41, was charged Monday with first-degree murder, accused of killing her live-in boyfriend, Curtis Giffin, in front of her 13-year-old daughter, charging papers say. Clayton, who has a 1996 conviction for first-degree robbery and a 2004 conviction for second-degree assault, was also charged Monday with first-degree unlawful possession of a firearm, according to charging papers.

If convicted of murder in Giffin's death, Clayton would face a sentence "of life imprisonment without release as a 'persistent offender,' " charging papers say.

At her initial court appearance over the weekend, Clayton's bail was set at $250,000. She did not post bail, and on Monday, her bail was revoked. She is in the Pierce County Jail, jail records show.

In asking that Clayton be held without bail, Deputy Prosecutor Jerry Costello cited an initiative passed by voters in November that gives judges the authority to detain without bail suspects who are facing possible life sentences. The no-bail initiative was prompted by the slayings of four Lakewood police officers in November 2009.

Days before those shootings, gunman Maurice Clemmons had posted bail and was released from the Pierce County Jail, despite being arrested for what would have been his third strike if convicted.

Costello couldn't say whether it is the first time in Pierce County the citizen initiative was used to keep a potential third-striker locked up.

"It's the first time I've asked for it and definitely the reason I asked for no bail is because now we can," Costello said.

According to charging papers, Clayton and her daughter lived with Giffin, 51, in his mobile home in the 32300 block of 68th Avenue South. Clayton apparently "came to believe the victim had been involved with another woman" and "became very angry," charging papers say.

Clayton's 13-year-old daughter was in her bedroom when Clayton came home angry around 8 p.m. Friday, followed soon after by Giffin, charging papers say. The couple began arguing about a cellphone — and detectives later found what "may be a photograph of the victim's new girlfriend on the victim's cellphone," charging papers say.

After hearing gunshots, the girl ran from her room and saw Giffin sitting on the living-room floor, "covering a bleeding gunshot wound to his stomach" with his hand, charging papers say.

Clayton was standing two feet in front of Giffin and allegedly shot him "a final time in the chest" as her daughter watched, the papers say. The girl "listened to and watched the victim die moments later," the papers say.

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After allegedly killing Giffin, Clayton made several phone calls and downed half a bottle of whiskey, though the girl later told detectives her mother rarely drank alcohol, charging papers say.

Several people apparently heard the gunshots and called 911. When police arrived, Clayton came out of the mobile home with her hands raised over her head, the papers say. Detectives found a loaded pistol on a table near Giffin, charging papers say.

Sara Jean Green: 206-515-5654 or sgreen@seattletimes.com

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