Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Couple drops civil suit in daughter's death...Bets on criminal case

You bet! Definately don't want anything getting in the way of a full on investigation and trial of Kari's murder.

WacoTrib.com - Couple drops civil suit in daughter's death, bets on criminal case
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
By Tommy Witherspoon
Tribune-Herald staff

The parents of a Hewitt teacher who claim their son-in-law, Matt Baker, killed their daughter have dismissed their civil wrongful death lawsuit against him. James and Linda Dulin, parents of Kari Baker, say they will allow the criminal justice system a chance to work now that Matt Baker has been arrested in the April 2006 death of his 31-year-old wife. “After discussing
this with our attorney, Bill Johnston, my husband and I decided that it would be best to dismiss the civil case,” Linda Dulin said. “We don’t want to do anything to interfere with the criminal proceedings.” The Dulins have claimed Matt Baker, a former local Baptist minister, drugged his wife to make her death appear to be suicide by sleeping pill overdose. A police affidavit to support Baker’s Sept. 21 arrest in Kerrville, where he was living with the couple’s two daughters and substitute teaching at Tivy High School, alleges he slipped his wife crushed sleeping pills, then suffocated her after she lost consciousness.

Baker, 36, remains in McLennan County Jail in lieu of $400,000 bond. Johnston, a former federal prosecutor, said the Dulins were never interested in filing the civil lawsuit for monetary damages. “They just wanted to get to the truth of it, and a civil suit was one means to do that,” he said. “We just have to consider that the criminal case is more important than anything we would do civilly, so we wanted to sort of back out and let the criminal case take its natural priority.” While the order dismissing the lawsuit doesn’t prevent the Dulins from re-filing it, Johnston said he doubts that will happen, “assuming the criminal case moves forward.”
Waco attorney James Rainey, who represents Matt Baker with Gerald Villarrial, called dismissal of the civil lawsuit “a step in the right direction.” They have denied that Baker had anything to do with his wife’s death. Rainey said attorneys for Baker will file a motion seeking to reduce Baker’s bond in coming weeks. The Dulins and other family members say they have never believed Kari committed suicide. They convinced Hewitt police to reopen the nvestigation into her death and obtained an order to have their daughter’s body exhumed for autopsy. Much of the information contained in the police affidavit to support Matt Baker’s arrest was uncovered by Johnston’s civil litigation team, including the fact that Baker had a mistress and visited Web sites pertaining to sleeping pills and drug overdoses. Justice of the Peace Billy Martin, who initially ruled Baker’s death a suicide without ordering an autopsy, has since changed his ruling to “undetermined,” the same finding issued by medical examiners after the

First Assistant District Attorney Crawford Long, who received the report in the Baker case from Hewitt police late last week, declined comment on the case Monday."

- and -
(Boy what a crude title, KWTX. Seriously.)
(October 16, 2007)--"The parents of a Waco-area teacher whose death initially was ruled suicide have dismissed their wrongful death lawsuit against her husband. Linda Dulin says she and her husband don't want to do anything to interfere with the murder prosecution of Matt Baker.
The former minister has been charged in the death of his 31-year-old wife, Kari, in their Hewitt home last year. Baker was arrested last month in Kerrville, where he was living with the couple's two daughters and working as a substitute high school teacher. The arrest warrant affidavit alleges he slipped his wife crushed sleeping pills, and then suffocated her after she lost consciousness. His attorney James Rainey, denies that Baker had anything to do with the death. He called the dismissal of the Dulin family's lawsuit "a step in the right direction."
I mean, I know you have to sound like you're protective of your client.......but geesh, we ALL know they didn't drop it because they feel it was erroneous or that they needed to simply pull out. It was simply to keep anything from interfering with the more crucial criminal case. At least, that's JMHO.


Anonymous said...

"While the order dismissing the lawsuit doesn’t prevent the Dulins from re-filing it, Johnston said he doubts that will happen, “assuming the criminal case moves forward.”

Rumors are gaining traction that the District Attorney will not prosecute because of weak evidence. Does anyone have an inside track on whether this rumor has any substance?

Anonymous said...

We all need to settle in and prepare for many more months of rumors...I heard from a very reliable source that the DAs office has already started contacting people. From what I heard, they are just getting started. The attorney assigned to the case is the senior assistant DA. He gets the biggest cases. This one isn't going away; however, it may not be in the news for awhile. Word is that this attorney takes his time and is very methodical.

patience...patience....the wheels of justice turn very slowly.

Anonymous said...

I don't think the attorneys now involved would be involved if there wasn't some solid merit to this case. These guys aren't the attorneys that weak cases get tossed to.

Also since Matt is still behind bars and still under the $400,000 bond shows the Judge ain't playing around either.

It all sounds pretty serious to me.

Anonymous said...

Interesting that the "best" assistant DA has been assigned the case, but will not take to Grand Jury due to lack of evidence, and wants more time to build case. They have had way over a year of build a case. What have they been doing? Of course the Dulins dropped the civil case, so they would not have to share info they gathered in that case with the DA. Makes you wonder, huh????

Anonymous said...

Where in the heck do you get your crazy information? The Hill Country news? Who told you the DA doesn't have evidence? Over a year to build a case? The DA's office just got two months ago!
You sure make me wonder!

Anonymous said...

Exactly! If I've said it once, I've said it 10 times. The DA just got the case a couple of months ago. He hasn't had a year+ to work on it. OK?