Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Bond Reduced - Awaiting Release

A couple of articles from the

Bond Reduced for Man Accused of Killing Schoolteacher Wife in 2006

Former Minister Baker's Release Expected Soon

Wednesday, October 24, 2007
By Tommy Witherspoon
Tribune-Herald staff writer

A state district judge cut former Baptist minister Matt Baker’s bail bond in half Tuesday after an agreement between Baker’s attorney and a McLennan County prosecutor.

Judge Matt Johnson of Waco’s 54th State District Court signed an agreed order to reduce Baker’s bail bond from $400,000 to $200,000. The reduction and a generous loan from a family friend should allow Baker to be released and reunited with his two daughters, who have been staying with his parents in Kerrville since his Sept. 21 arrest.

Baker, 36, was arrested for murder in the April 2006 death of his 31-year-old wife, Kari, a teacher at Spring Valley Elementary School in Hewitt. Her death initially was ruled a suicide by overdose of sleeping pills until her parents, James and Linda Dulin, persuaded Hewitt police to reopen the investigation and exhume her body for autopsy.

Matt Baker Baker’s attorney, former Jasper County District Attorney Guy James Gray, filed a motion for habeas corpus last week, challenging the evidence under which Baker was being held. Johnson had scheduled a hearing on that motion for Friday afternoon, but Baker’s release after the bond reduction will negate the need for the hearing, court officials said. Baker’s release also removes pressure from the district attorney’s office to get Baker indicted within 90 days of his arrest in a death with an “unknown” official cause and evidence that is largely circumstantial.
Defendants who remain in jail for 90 days without being indicted are entitled by statute to a personal recognizance bond or one that is drastically reduced.
Crawford Long, first assistant district attorney for McLennan County, said he never considered the 90-day rule when agreeing to the bond reduction.
“We agreed to have the bond set at $200,000, at which it was originally set, which we believed was proper under the state and case law,” Long said.
McLennan County Justice of the Peace Frank Culpepper doubled Baker’s bond to $400,000 after Baker was returned to Waco from Kerr County. The original bail was set in Kerr County, where Baker had been substitute teaching at Tivy High School in Kerrville. He has since been removed from the substitute teachers list. Gray said he is unsure what his client will do now.

Gray, who made an unsuccessful run for the Court of Criminal Appeals in 2004, moved to Kerrville three years ago. He said a Baker family friend from Comfort made arrangements through a bank in Hewitt to post a cash bond to ensure Baker’s release. “He should be out later today or maybe tomorrow,” Gray said Tuesday morning. “He has a number of followers here in Kerrville who have volunteered to help him.”

Linda Dulin, who met with Long on Tuesday morning about the case, said she is not disappointed that the bond was reduced. “We were told that bond is typically reduced upon the request of the defense attorney,” she said. “My husband and I realize that this is how the system works. I trust that Mr. Long will take this to the grand jury as soon as he is able to do so.” The Dulins and other family members and friends have said they never believed that Kari Baker committed suicide.
An exhumation of the body, autopsy and inquest by McLennan County Justice of the Peace Billy Martin failed to determine a cause of death but persuaded Martin to change his ruling from suicide to undetermined.

An affidavit to support Baker’s arrest alleges that Baker was having an affair and drugged his wife with sleeping pills before suffocating her with a pillow.
Gray said he never agreed to reduce a murder defendant’s bond during 25 years as Jasper County district attorney but did so for a number of other defendants.
“I don’t think I should speak for the district attorney’s office,” Gray said. “On our side, we are ready. I’ll go to trial next Monday if they give me a jury. What they do on their side is going to be their business.”
Baker spent part of his time in jail tutoring other inmates in algebra to help them toward obtaining their general educational development certificates, Gray said.
“Looks like they will have to try to get along without his help now,” Gray said. “I need him here to help prepare this case.”

Article from Kerrville's
Baker's Bond Cut in Half

By Alison Beshur

The Daily Times - Published October 24, 2007

A $400,000 bond for a 36-year-old Kerrville man accused of murdering his wife was reduced Tuesday and arrangements were being made to get him out of a jail in Waco. Matthew Dee Baker’s bond was reduced to $200,000. The former Kerrville substitute teacher and Baptist preacher should be reunited with his parents and two daughters before the weekend, said Baker’s attorney, Guy James Gray. If Baker is indicted by a grand jury, Gray said he plans to push for a speedy trial. “I believe this boy has been railroaded,” said Gray, a local lawyer and former district attorney in East Texas. “I’m ready to go anytime.” Baker’s mother, Barbara, said she wanted him out “yesterday.” The worst part of the ordeal has been watching he and his two daughters being separated, Barbara Baker said. “Not being able to watch Matt with his girls,” she said. “I’d like to hug him and watch him hug them.” Matthew Baker was arrested after a wrongful death lawsuit turned into a criminal charge of murder. He has been jailed for more than a month.

A warrant alleged Baker in April 2006 subdued his wife with a concoction of alcohol and sleeping pills and then smothered her with a pillow or similar object. Her death had been ruled a suicide, but later was changed to “undetermined.” Kari Lynn Baker was 31 years old when she died. The couple had been married for more than a decade and had three children, but the family dynamics seemed to change when they lost a 16-month-old daughter to cancer.About three months after Kari Lynn Baker’s death, her parents filed a wrongful death lawsuit against their late daughter’s husband. Matthew Baker is a Kerrville native and graduate of Tivy High School. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Baylor University and a master’s degree from George W. Truitt Theological Seminary at Baylor. He was Baptist preacher at a church near Waco and a minister in a youth center. After his wife’s death, he returned to Kerrville and worked as a substitute teacher for the Kerrville Independent School District.Barbara Baker said her son is a beloved “pied piper,” who could make fun activities out of menial chores, such as raking leaves. He also is an excellent parent, she said, noting observations since his daughters have been in her care. No one who knows her son believes he could’ve been responsible for his wife’s death, Barbara Baker said. Instead, she has received an outpouring of support from teachers who worked with him, fellow classmates and students he taught.

“I would say hundreds,” Barbara Baker said of the cards and calls. “In 11 years of marriage, he never said one negative thing about his wife or in-laws. The truth will come out, and we’ll be able to get on with our lives.”


Anonymous said...

Yes, Barbara, the truth will come out. Pied Piper? That is kind creepy, don't ya think?
From what I heard, the in-laws never had a bad word to say about him. In fact, friends have told me they were much more a part of his life than his parents were. Of course, killing their daughter put a real damper on the whole relationship. Killed the love, if you'll pardon the pun.

Yes, Barbara, the truth will come out.

Anonymous said...

Your sarcasm is a tad distasteful but not unexpected. I said last week that Matt would be home with the girls by Thanksgiving. There is an old saying in the law that you can indict a ham sandwich. But this case is based solely on circumstantial evidence and prejudiced comments that it will not be suprising if this case never goes to trial.

The truth will come out but you won't be able to handle it. And I might add, be nice to Mrs. Baker...she is one of the nicest people and strongest Christian you would ever hope to meet.

Anonymous said...

I have prayed for Mrs. Baker. I have prayed for all of you who have faith in Matt. I hate how betrayed you will feel when you can no longer deny the truth. I don't say this sarcastically. I say it in sadness.

Anonymous said...

I believe that Mrs. Baker did say her son would be home by Thanksgiving, but I also recall saying that this might be his last one! The truth will prevail. Everything is in God's hands.

Leslie Tyler said...

I thank the Lord above that He, alone, is in control. I am saddened, broken-hearted and truly amazed that so many here choose to comment and present opinions anonymously. I was a Youth and Music Minister at Williams Creek Baptist Church while Matt was Pastor. It was during that time that Kassidy, their second born, died. Honestly, I have tried to sit the fence on this one, to let God take care of it all. I care deeply for Matt and Kari and their girls. But this is what I know... After watching the pure and complete agony of losing a child, Kari would not and could not take her own life. It was absolute torture to WATCH her mourn for her daughter. I cannot even begin to imagine what torture it was for her to let go of Kassidy and let God take care of her. But here's the kicker... She did it. She knew that Kassidy was finally in a place where she was free to be all God created her to be without sickness and pain. Kari got there. She reached that point that no mother should have to endure.

Conversely, Matt never seemed to let himself feel the pain of that loss. He was back to preaching immediately. A sign of strenth and resolve? I think not. More like a route to escape. A way out. A chance to run from reality and never truly come to terms with the loss of a child-- an innocent victim in a tragically lost world.

Do I think Matt killed Kari? I think that Matt was cheating on his wife and wanted to get out of his marriage without scarring his reputation or losing custody of his daughters. That's what I think.

I pray that our Lord will guide my heart and my mind as well as all those who hold Matt's fate in their hands. I also pray that those who have opinions to state and thoughts to share will do so pubically and without shame of retribution.

Peace to you all.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Leslie, so much for your strong and loving comment. It's so good to hear from those who knew Matt and Kari during intimate and critical times in their lives. You've done Kari a great justice tonight by your witness to her strength and character.

For what it's worth, I totally understand why some commentors cannot say at this time who they are. It's touchy times right now. But some things need to be said. I hope it's helpful to have this avenue for them to say it. Maybe for the many other commentors, they'll find strength in your post and be emboldened. If not, I'm still glad they are here and sharing their thoughts and memories of Kari and her family.

On my comments, I do chose the anonymous way to comment but I sign my name at the bottom. I don't use my google/blogger name because I chose to keep my other private blogs private and too often one threads to another.


Anonymous said...

It is so obvious that this man murdered his wife. I truly believe that justice will be served and the truth will come out. There is no place to hide Matt, not behind the cloak or your precious children. He is evil in everyway. How dare he take a beautiful young woman away from her parents, daughters and many friends and family. Your time will come.............

Anonymous said...

I did not know Leslie Tyler, but I have to wonder if he was around Matt and Kari in 1998-99 time, when the papers say the baby died, is Leslie saying that Matt was cheating on Kari at that time? Or is he just reading the news and assuming they are true? Or, is he judging a fellow minister on his own behavior? Something doesn't sound right to me. Someone from 8 yrs ago making comments about today? I wouldn't go there myself, and I knew him more recentally.

Anonymous said...

I am sickened by how Kerrville is treating Matt. They treat him as though he is some kind of a hero. Wake up Kerrville, he MURDERED his wife, he cheated on her, he sexually harrassed young women (girls) and is probably doing so with his daughters. What will it take for these people to see Matt for who he really is 'a sociopath'. He's fooled everyone with his charm including Kari and her family. People are comming out of nowhere talkling about how Matt sexually abused them. What is it going to take for Kerville to WAKE-.UP. It's in God's hands and he knows the truth. Matt is a monster, an evil so-called man and he will be punished. Mark my word, then just maybe you can throw Kari's family a bar b que.

Anonymous said...

Do we not let the court system work anymore in the USA? Matt has only been accused, not found guilty. If he was so evil, how was Kari and her family so blind for so many years (I think I read 12 years) Are they that uneducated and naive? Of course people come forth that want attention during a time like this, that is a normal happening. Assulting his own daughters?? That is reaching the line of only thinking those thoughts because the one writing that has either abused the girls, or others??

Anonymous said...

Trust me, Kari's family is alot more educated then the Baker's. But that's besides the point. Not everyone was naive! But some were scared to talk...until it was too late! And then he killed his wife! The only abuse those girls have gotten is from their father. Emotional abuse for sure!

Anonymous said...

What type of education are you talking about. Degrees, or living experiences. Classrooms or real life, one would think that the degree does not necessary mean the only type of education that can be gained in life

Anonymous said...

The truth is that the girls are not being abused in any way shape or form. I have to wonder if people on this site ever stop to think that the girls may read this one day. How harmful that would be to them!!! And no, they would not read it because they are allowed by the bakers, I can see that coming. But children do know how to look things up at school and yes, that happens. I just wish people that claim to care so much about them would consider this may go public some day and could be more harmful to the girls.

Anonymous said...

Matt Baker is a sociopath and the truth will come out. People like him do appear charming. Of course his parents don't think he is capable of any of this. Of course his in-laws got along with him.
Sociopaths create the perfect image and let nothing stand in the way of this image. A snake in sheep's clothing. He's an evil, evil man...hiding behind his so called "faith".

Anonymous said...

When it comes to a death scene, if it smells like fish, then something is fishy! Hmmm ... I'm not saying this sack-of-crap "minister" is guilty, but he's got a lot of explaining to do!! Repeated allegations of sexual harrassment at various churches, missing computer at home (right before the police arrived), hard to believe statment of events on night of death, no emotion in 911 call, Google searches for overdose, switching of computers at church office, contradictory statements in 20/20 interview, crushed pills in briefcase (with another weak excuse that kids put it there) ... oh, and you want a motive - he blatently shows us that he was cheating on his wife by going shopping for a ring with his girlfried right after his wife's death!! Oh - he's not "guilty" ... yet! Worse part is how is parents are trying to get everyone to overlook all this fishy smell, and convincing the good people of Kerrville to give them money for his defense fund ... Hey parents - tell us what you did with Matt's computer and the computer printer before we give you a dime of help!!!

Anonymous said...

I am 15 years old and I am disgusted how people put that he will "get what he deserves"...
i learned the other day that we cant judge others until we are more erfect than Jesus Christ himself..
I dont know about you..but I am pretty sure God did NOT give me the role of damnation of others..
HOW BOUT...WE all pray.. and not point dirty (sinful) fingers... HOW BOUT THAT?

matts daughter was our Tivy bat girl yesterday and she is an angel and i pray that she have a blessed life and grows closer to the Lord everyday even with this tragic event dampering on her life and on the lives of others

Shannon said...

To Anonymous 15 year old:
Thank you for commenting. Your thoughts are always welcomed here. This is such a deep, heart-felt, painful situation for everyone and people often write passionate, painful statements. It's part of the feelings and working them out. Here is a safe place to do that.

I wanted to comment back a little bit to explain my feelings and I'm using some words I used in a post from November of 2007:

"God alone has the power to judge eternal judgement and/or final condemnation. But God commands believers to test, prove, judge and discern what is true and what is right and wrong. We are not to judge the hearts and intents of man, but we are to judge actions and discern right from wrong. The word 'judge' (Greek-krino) is used over 80 times in the New Testament and it means to call in question, discern, conclude, decree and determine." ( - I don't know this organization but I liked the way this was worded so I used it.)

For the full post of my feelings on judging, see:

We can't sit back and let a murderer go unscrutinized and free. THAT would be a sin. I'm not judging Matt's soul. I am simply wanting him held accountable on earth for his earthly sin like we all should be for ours.