Friday, September 21, 2007
Below is the text from the arrest warrant affidavit issued Friday morning for Matt Baker in the death of his wife, Hewitt teacher Kari Lynn Baker.
Matt Baker surrendered to Kerr County law enforcement officials by day’s end.
An affidavit is a sworn statement alleging probable cause to support an arrest.
Texas Ranger Matt Cawthon and Hewitt Police Det. Ben Toombs obtained the warrant. The text below has been slightly amended.
THE CITY OF HEWITT } Case No: 06-0439
COUNTY OF McLENNAN } COMPLAINT
THE STATE OF TEXAS }
THE UNDERSIGNED AFFIANT, BEING A PEACE OFFICER UNDER THE LAWS OF THE STATE OF TEXAS AND BEING DULY SWORN, ON OATH MAKES THE FOLLOWING STATEMENTS AND ACCUSATIONS
I, Ben Toombs, a licensed peace officer in the State of Texas and employed by the Hewitt Police Department and hereafter referred to as the Affiant, do solemnly swear that I have reason to believe and do believe that Matthew Dee Baker, a white male, date of birth 09-07-1971, hereafter referred to as the Defendant, committed the offense of Murder on or about 04-07-2006 in McLennan County, Texas. On or about that date, the Defendant intentionally or knowingly committed the offense of Murder by causing the death of Kari Lynn Baker by using prescription and/or over-the-counter sleeping medication and alcohol to render her defenseless and then using a pillow or similar item to suffocate her.
IT IS THE BELIEF OF YOUR AFFIANT THAT THE ABOVE SUSPECTED PARTY HAS COMMITTED THIS CRIMINAL ACT IN VIOLATION OF THE LAWS OF THE STATE OF TEXAS, AND AFFIANT HAS PROBABLE CAUSE FOR SAID BELIEF BY REASON OF THE FOLLOWING ACTS, TO WIT:
My name is Ben Toombs and hereafter referred to as the Affiant. Your Affiant is a Certified Peace Officer in the State of Texas and presently employed as a Criminal Investigator with the Hewitt Police Department in Hewitt, Texas. Your Affiant has been a police officer for seven (7) years and during that time, your Affiant has investigated dozens of felony crimes including the crime of homicide. Your Affiant is currently investigating the death of a woman from Hewitt, Texas, named Kari Lynn Baker. Kari Lynn Baker died on or about April 7, 2006, at her home in Hewitt, Texas. In preparing this affidavit, Affiant has interviewed individuals connected with the case, has reviewed police reports prepared by the City of Hewitt, Texas, and has spoken with experts regarding forensic matters.
At the time of her death, Kari Baker was a schoolteacher in the Midway Independent School District located in Central Texas. She was married to the Defendant, a local Baptist preacher. Sometime in early 2006, the Defendant apparently became interested in having a relationship with (another) woman . In addition to this job, the Defendant worked as the Chaplain at the Waco Center for Youth. Records show that the Defendant’s cellular telephone contacted the home where the woman lived on dozens of occasions between January and April 2006.
According to the woman, the Defendant would call her once or twice a day from his cellular telephone or his work telephone. The woman indicated that she believed that the Defendant was “interested” in her. Investigation by your Affiant revealed that within days after the death of Kari Baker, the Defendant was with a woman who matched this woman’s description and the two of them were in a jewelry store in Richland Mall in Waco, Texas shopping for engagement rings.
Computer records provided by the Waco Center for Youth reveal that, in early March 2006, the Defendant began to seek internet sites dealing with drug overdose and specifically with prescription drugs. On March 9, 2006, the Defendant did a computer search regarding “overdose by sleeping pill.” Also on March 9,2006, the Defendant did a computer search for the prescription drug Ambien. As Affiant will describe later, it was determined that Kari Baker had Ambien in her system at the time of her death. On March 20, 21 and 23, 2006, the Defendant visited numerous internet sites that which sold prescription medication. On March 26, 2006, at 1:12 p.m., the Defendant visited an internet site known as “prescriptiondrugplanet.” Two (2) minutes later, at 1:14 p.m., a site known as “pharmbilling” was connected to the Defendant’s computer. Your Affiant believes that “pharmbilling” is a service, which handles payment for prescription medication ordered from an internet site. In addition, on March 23,2006, at 1:28 p.m., the Defendant’s computer at the Waco Center for Youth was connected to an internet site registered as “SecureRxCart.” Your Affiant believes that this is another indication of a purchase by the Defendant of prescription medication ordered from an internet site.
According to Kari Baker’s family, Kari Baker and the Defendant were having difficulties in their relationship in the weeks before her death. On or about Monday, April 3, 2006, Kari Baker found a bottle of crushed pills in the Defendant’s briefcase. When she asked him where the pills came from, he told her that the kids from the Waco Center for Youth must have put them there. The Defendant told Kari Baker that sometimes the children spit out their medicine and that is where the pills came from. Your Affiant has learned that the Waco Center for Youth has a strict pill policy and that the Defendant was not around children when they took medicine nor did he take his briefcase to areas of the Waco Center for Youth other than his office. Further, Affiant has learned that the Defendant possessed the only key that would unlock his office door and that he locked the door each day when he was not in his office. After Kari Baker’s death, the Defendant spoke with members of the Hewitt, Texas, Police Department and told them a different story regarding the pills. The Defendant told the police that the pills his wife saw in his briefcase were Kari Baker’s and that she must have hidden them in his briefcase.
The Defendant told the police that on Friday, April 7, 2006, he and his wife, Kari, went to the YMCA in Waco, Texas late in the afternoon for a swimming lesson for their oldest daughter. The Defendant told police that his wife felt ill at the YMCA. The Defendant told other witnesses that Kari was lethargic and nauseated at the YMCA and had to lie down. Witnesses who saw Kari Baker at the YMCA on April 7, 2006, stated that she did not appear to be ill and that she was acting normally. The Defendant told police that they returned home from the YMCA and that later, about 11:15 p.m., Kari Baker asked the Defendant to go and rent some movies, to put gasoline in the car and to get some candy. The Defendant claimed that he and Kari Baker both drank one (1) or more “fuzzy navel” wine coolers prior to him leaving. The Defendant claimed that he then left the house at approximately 11:15 p.m., purchased gasoline, rented movies, and returned home at about midnight. The Defendant claimed that when he returned home, he found the bedroom door locked and he had to get a screwdriver to open it. The Defendant stated that when he opened the door, he found Kari Baker on the bed, nude, and that she was cold to the touch and her lips were blue. The Defendant then telephoned 9-1-1 and then claimed to have put clothes on Kari Baker and attempted to administer CPR on her body.
According to ambulance officials, who arrived on the scene at 12:15 a.m. on April 8, 2006, Kari Baker was already deceased and lividity had been set. Your Affiant knows that lividity is a discoloration of the body caused from blood pooling in the lower parts of the body. Police who arrived on the scene found a typed, unsigned note next to the bed along with a bottle of Unisom tablets, an over-the-counter sleep aid.
Your Affiant is aware that Dr. David Stafford of Memphis, Tennessee, has reviewed the evidence in this investigation. Dr. Stafford was the Director of Toxicology for the University Of Tennessee Medical School. Dr. Stafford has determined that if Kari Baker had ingested enough Ambien or Unisom to cause her death, it could not have taken place in the time frame given by The Defendant to police. Dr. Stafford believes it would have taken at least an hour or more longer than the time frame explained. Your Affiant knows that at autopsy, after her body had been exhumed and disinterred, forensic examiners determined that Ambien and Unisom were found in Kari Baker’s muscle tissue.
Your Affiant is also aware that Tom Bevel of Norman, Oklahoma, has reviewed the evidence in this investigation. Mr. Bevel is a well-known expert on homicides and homicide investigation and a published authority on numerous subjects including crime scene investigation. Mr. Bevel claimed that he believed that Kari Baker was not nude at the time of her death as the Defendant described. Mr. Bevel believed that Kari Baker’s panties were put on by her, not someone (else,) after her death. Your Affiant believes that the Defendant may have told the story that Kari Baker was nude to provide a reason for her body to be cold to the touch. Also, Mr. Bevel believed that lividity could not have begun and become set in the time frame given by the Defendant. Mr. Bevel believed that it would have taken much longer for the body to become cold and lividity to set. Your Affiant has seen an abrasion that is evident on Kari Baker’s nose in the crime scene photographs. There is also the appearance of bruising to Kari Baker’s lips. Your Affiant believes that these wounds are consistent with what would happen if a pillow or another similar object were placed over someone’s face to suffocate them. Your Affiant is aware that there were pillows, including what appears to be a course-woven pillow, in the room where Kari Baker’s body was found.
On Tuesday, April 4, 2006, Kari Baker met with Joanne Bristol, a counselor (in) Waco, Texas. Kari Baker told Ms. Bristol that she believed that the Defendant was going to kill her. According to Ms. Bristol, Kari Baker was suspicious of the pills she found in the Defendant’s briefcase and previously mentioned in this affidavit. Kari Baker also told Ms. Bristol that she believed that the Defendant was having an illicit affair with another woman. Your Affiant is aware that on April 7, 2006, Kari Baker had a job interview for a teaching position at the Midway Middle School. At the time, Kari Baker was a teacher at the Spring Valley Elementary School of the Midway Independent School District. Kari Baker told several individuals that she believed the interview went well and she was positive about the prospect of a new position within the school district. Your affiant believes that, according to friends and relatives, Kari Baker was very positive about the future and not suicidal.
At the time of Kari Baker’s death, the Defendant had access to three (3) computers. Of these computers, one (1) was at Crossroads Baptist Church, one (1) was at the Waco Center for Youth and one (1) was at the Baker residence. On or about June 14,2006, an officer of the Hewitt Police Department went to the Waco Center for Youth to speak with the Defendant. In that same time frame, the Crossroads Baptist Church demanded that the Defendant return the church computer that he had been using. According to computer technicians at the Waco Center for Youth, the Defendant covertly switched computers with his secretary (on) June 14, 2006 when he learned that a Hewitt Police officer was coming to The Waco Center for Youth. The Defendant even switched inventory labels on the computers in an effort to disguise the computer switch. On or about June 17, 2006, the Defendant disposed of his home computer. In a civil deposition, the Defendant explained that he disposed of the computer because it was too slow. In that same deposition The Defendant claimed that he threw away his home computer printer because it was “not compat.” On or about June 19, 2006, the computer located at the Defendant’s secretary’s desk, which was actually the Defendant’s computer, went missing. This date was a state holiday when all administrative offices of the Waco Center for Youth were closed. There were, however, a few employees working that day and one (1) of the employees remembers seeing the Defendant go into his office area.
Your affiant is also aware that the Defendant received approximately $50,000.00 in benefits from the death of his wife. Based upon Affiant’s experience and review of the evidence in this case, your Affiant believes that the Defendant used Ambien in connection with alcohol or alcohol in connection with Unisom to render Kari Baker defenseless and then did and there cause the death of Kari Baker.
WHEREFORE, AFFIANT ASKS FOR ISSUANCE OF A WARRANT THAT WILL AUTHORIZE THE ARREST OF THE SUSPECTED PARTY.
Description: Matthew Dee Baker