Monday, February 7, 2011

Trial set for Pastor who murdered wife

by Loren Korn, Seth Kovar, and Zlatko Filipovic
WACO - The pre-trial of the former preacher accused of murdering his wife and trying to make it look like suicide was held Wednesday morning. Matt Baker showed up to hear whether a list of motions were granted or denied for the upcoming trial.

•One of Baker's attorneys, Guy James Gray, asked to be removed from the case because of "serious and material breach of conduct." He also claimed there has been a conflict between he and Baker. Nineteenth District Court Judge Ralph Strother denied the request.
•Motion for the defense to get a copy of Vanessa Bulls' grand jury testimony before the trial was denied. Bulls is Baker's alleged girlfriend from December 2006.
•Vanessa Bulls is granted immunity
•The defense plans to challenge Bulls' credibility because of conflicting stories between what she told police and what she testified before a grand jury
•Defense requested $1500 from the court to interview and talk with state expert witnesses. That request was granted.
•Judge reinstated the gag order over everyone involved in this case
•Start date for trial has been moved from January 11th to January 12th
•Defense will have access to a complete list of state expert witnesses
The McLennan County District Attorney's Office submitted a list of 97 potential witnesses for the upcoming trial. Matt Baker's mother and children are on the list along with Kari Baker's friends and family members.

Justice of the Peace Billy Martin and Reade Quinton were also subpoenaed. Quinton was the Dallas forensic scientist who was involved in Kari Baker's delayed autopsy. Several private investigators, Hewitt and Waco police officers, and crime scene forensic analysts were also subpoenaed.

Vanessa Bulls, Matt Baker's alleged girlfriend, was also subpoenaed. Police claim Baker made numerous phone calls to her just days before and after his wife's death. There's also an interesting request on the list: all e-mails Bulls and Baker had during the month of December in 2006 have also been subpoenaed.

Baker was originally arrested for his wife's murder and then had those charges dropped because the District Attorney's office didn't indict him within six months. But after a female acquaintance of the former pastor, Vanessa Bulls, testified before a McLennan County Grand Jury, Baker was arrested and then indicted for Kari Baker's murder.

Hewitt police found Kari's body in the Bakers' home in April of 2006. The death was originally ruled a suicide. But four months later, Justice of the Peace Billy Martin ordered her body exhumed and an autopsy performed at the urging of Kari Baker's parents, who insisted she was murdered. That autopsy showed traces of sleeping pills and medicine in her muscle tissues.

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