Raleigh man arrested for murder-for-hire plot against man involved in wreck that killed his mother

RALEIGH, N.C. – A Raleigh man has been arrested for allegedly attempting to hire someone to kill a man who was involved in a car accident that resulted in the death of the suspect’s mother in 2016.

Rhett Michael Barlow was taken into custody by Wake Forest Police on Saturday morning on charges of solicitation to commit murder. The intended target was identified as Donald Caulder, Jr.

The incident dates back to nearly eight years ago when Caulder, then 29, was driving a dump truck along Capital Blvd and collided with Michelle Barlow, a high school teacher and mother of Rhett Barlow.

During a court appearance, prosecutors revealed that Barlow had purchased firearms, including an AR-15 Springfield Rifle, and had attempted to position himself closer to Caulder, even going as far as requesting a transfer of his National Guard duty.

Authorities cited driver fatigue or distraction as contributing factors to the crash, and Caulder was charged with misdemeanor death by motor vehicle and failure to reduce speed.

At the memorial service for Michelle Barlow, her family was seen grieving the loss, with her husband expressing forgiveness towards Caulder. A photograph of Michelle with her family was also shared.

Following his arrest, Rhett Barlow was taken to the Wake County Detention Center, where he is currently being held under a $1 million secured bond.

The investigation remains ongoing, with the North Carolina National Guard confirming Barlow’s membership and status as a traditional guardsman since 2019, based out of Charlotte.

Prosecutors have announced that the individual approached by Barlow to assist in the plot will not be facing charges, as he voluntarily reported the situation to the authorities. Family members of Barlow present in the courtroom declined to comment.