Local pastor wants retrial for wife's murder

POSTED: Wednesday, November 17, 2010 - 3:04pm
UPDATED: Friday, April 13, 2012 - 8:53am

WACO -- Convicted murderer, Matt Baker, has sent a letter to appeal his conviction. The former pastor's attorney, Stan Shweiger, says the trial was unfair. Baker was sentenced to 65 years in prison for the murder of his wife. Baker's attorney wrote an appeal saying baker's trial attorney's failed to object to an alternate juror present in deliberations. They also cited evidence and testimonies as insufficient and said the judge's conduct aided the prosecution.

Det. Ben Toombs testified in the trial last Jan. saying baker's timeline didn't add up. He says talk of a retrial isn't surprising, and it's his right to appeal if he believes it is needed.

Baker was found guilty this year after 31-year-old Kari Baker was found dead from an overdose of sleeping pills in April 2007.  A note was found typed up and unsigned. Her husband said it was suicide but witnesses and Kari's family said it didn't match up.

Baker worked as a chaplain for the Waco Center for Youth. A key point in the trial was that Baker had switched computers with a secretary at work because he had searched "sleeping pill overdose" on his own computer.
Officials at the youth center declined to comment but did say they remember what happened there three years ago.

One of the testimonies Baker's attorney says is insufficient was from Baker's mistress accused, Vanessa Bulls. They also said the medical examiner could not state a cause of death in the trial. Prosecutors say Baker gave his wife sleeping pills and suffocated her with a pillow.

No date set yet for the retrial.

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