By Alison Beshur The Daily Times
Published November 19, 2007
Sporting a green “Live Strong”-type bracelet inscribed with the word “Defense,” Matt Baker strolled around the Louise Hays Park Pavilion chatting, shaking hands and hugging attendees at a fund raiser to help fight a case against him.“ It’s unbelievable to know the support I have,” Baker said. “Some of the people, I don’t know who they are. ... It’s amazing.”
In late September, Baker was arrested on a warrant that alleged he murdered his wife in April 2006 in their home near Waco. Her death had been ruled a suicide, but was later changed to “undetermined.”
After her death, Baker returned to Kerrville, where he had grown up, attended school and his parents still live. He brought his two daughters ages 7 and 11 and found a job working as a substitute teacher for the Kerrville Independent School District.
His late wife’s parents filed a wrongful death lawsuit, ordered depositions and then gave some of that information to the Hewitt Police Department for a criminal investigation.
Baker has not charged been formally by a grand jury in McLennan County. The next grand jury meeting is Nov. 28.
Since Baker was released in late October, his family has continued to receive an outpouring of support. Some of that was evident at Sunday’s fund-raising event. Attendees not only bought tickets for barbecue plates and baked goods and placed bids on silent auction items, but they also simply wrote checks to help with Baker’s defense fund. By the end of the night, more than $7,500 had been raised.
“I think we’re going to have a successful fund raiser, helping his family out with immediate needs,” said Brenda Hughes, an owner of Buzzie’s Bar-B-Q and one of the organizers. “It’s heartwarming to see the support and people not necessarily wanting anything in return.” Her son, Tyler “Buzzie” Hughes, said Baker was his substitute algebra teacher for three months last school year. Aside from teaching the subject, Baker also gave him advice and made comments to cheer up the now 16-year-old sophomore.
Most of his classmates don’t talk about the arrest, but many feel the same way about Baker’s arrest.“It’s a sore subject,” Tyler Hughes said. “No one wanted to believe it when we heard about. It was really hard to believe.”
Margo Walters said she felt “called” to attend the fund raiser to help a classmate she had known for decades and a local family who had given to others. The Bakers often served as parent sponsors for church activities and took in dozens of foster children.“Their hugs were genuine and free,” Walters said while finishing her plate of barbecue. “When you come together under God’s will, wonderful things happen.
Walters described her former classmate as “likable” and someone with a “genuine and awesome heart.” Of everyone she knew in high school, he would be her pick as the most unlikely candidate to face murder charges.“I was shocked when I heard,” Walters said. “I still am very puzzled by what is happening to this family.”
Monday, November 19, 2007
Kerrville's DailyTimes.com : Community Turns Out for Baker Fund Raiser