Saturday, April 25, 2009

Judge orders Matt Baker to submit DNA

Here's Tommy's article about the hearing yesterday:

Judge orders Matt Baker to submit DNA; rejects request for grand jury records
Tommy Witherspoon
"Former Central Texas minister Matt Baker went 0-3 in pretrial motions Friday, being forced to give a DNA sample before he left the McLennan County Courthouse without the transcript he was seeking of what his alleged former girlfriend told the grand jury last month." (read more)

Friday, April 24, 2009

Things get cheek-y....

Long...but interesting morning. The hearing ran about an hour or hour and a half late due to another trial running late in the courtroom. Matt was there with his Mom in tow. Kari's family was there. News from the Waco Tribune, KWTX and KXXV were present. We all waited outside the courtroom for a while. But once we were in, things went quickly.

Defense Motion #1: Suppress having to give DNA

Defense Motion #2: Wanted to get their hands on Vanessa's "OMG" Grand Jury testimony

Defense Motion #3: Wanted to get their hands on psychiatrist Lee Carter's stuff

My layman's interpretation:

It's possible that the defense knew the DNA sample would be taken eventually. They were just banking on having to force a search warrant to get it. I have heard (not verified) that the search warrant comes with the reasons for the DNA sample. They didn't want to give it without knowing the damning tale the search warrant would reveal. If you're innocent, why worry about damning evidence?

Whatever Vanessa told the Grand Jury last month, it was damning enough to warrant immunity for herself....damning enough to warrant an IMMEDIATE indictment and arrest warrant. Maybe damning enough to warrant a DNA sample? Who knows. Even though Ellison said something about a finding from some court somewhere this week that said something about Grand Jury testimony being released, I think the Judge realized it was a ploy and that case had NOTHING to do with this case. Nothing.

Defense brought up something about psychiatrist Lee Carter's findings. Wanted that. Uh, that's civil work. This is a criminal case. The Judge seemed to fight crossing his eyes. (<----totally my interpretation....not mind reading) Either which way, Carter's findings won't help Matt at all. It's actually hurtful to Matt. Does Ellison know what Carter said? Anyway, long story short.....Ellison and Matt were stunned. The Judge graciously provided the break room right off the courtoom for Matt to submit his DNA sample. Priceless.

Here is the news so far from today: Awesome live blog from today's hearing NEW VIDEO: Live blog: April 24 hearing for Matt Baker
Ken Sury

"12:06 p.m. — My apologies for the brief break in blogging, but I had to leave the breakroom as Baker, his attorney, prosecutor Susan Shafer, bailiffs and another individual came into the room in order to take Baker’s DNA sample. I’m assuming it was the usual swab of the inside of each cheek." (read more)

Judge Grants Request For DNA Sample From Waco-Area Pastor Matt Baker

"WACO (April 24, 2009)—Prosecutors got permission Friday to take a DNA sample as a motions hearing got underway late Friday morning in state district court for former Waco-area pastor Matt Baker, who’s charged with murder in the 2006 death
of his wife, Kari." (read more)

Matt Baker gives DNA sample
Sara Talbert

"Baker's attorney also filed two new procedural motions this morning in case Baker is convicted. One would allow the possibility of probation, and the other requesting punishment be decided by a jury. Strother will set another hearing to decide on those." (read more)

VERY INTERESTING. Matt's attorney is already seeing a conviction. Hmmmmm........

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Ellison opposes motion for Matt's DNA

Attorney for former Waco-area pastor opposes motion to get DNA from his client in murder trial
Tommy Witherspoon
"In a motion filed Monday, Baker’s lawyer, Richard Ellison, told 19th State District Judge Ralph Strother that Baker opposes a motion from prosecutors who are seeking a court order to obtain a saliva swab from the former Central Texas Baptist minister." (read more)

If he's innocent and there's nothing to hide, why not give it up?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

If you are contacted by author....

Kari's family and I, and as I understand some of you now, have been contacted by a woman that wants to write a book on this case. While I'm sure she is well-intentioned, Kari's family has no desire to participate in anything like this and have made thier feelings known to her. It won't help serve justice. And they worry about how it would affect the girls in the future. Please keep this in mind if you are contacted. And I hope this doesn't run anyone off from being a part of this support for Justice for Kari. Your prayers and support are a great encouragement.

Email me if you have any questions:

Friday, April 17, 2009

Expert witnesses for Baker

Expert witnesses in Baker case could be costly to taxpayers
Tommy Witherspoon

"Ellison has said that Baker cannot get a fair trial without county funds to hire the experts, none of whom will come cheap. Ellison has indicated in a motion that he needs to hire a crime scene reconstruction expert, a toxicologist, a pharmacologist, a pathologist and a psychologist to combat prosecutionwitnesses in those fields.

Stan Schwieger, former president of the McLennan County Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, said the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that indigent defendants are 'basically entitled to the basic building blocks of a defense,' including court-approved funds to retain expertwitnesses, if that is what it takes." (read more)

It does stink that the taxpayers of McLennan County will be footing the bill for Matt's experts, but I do see why it is that way. The Judge knows what happens in cases like this. The Judge knows that if you don't give these "constitutional rights" to defendants like Baker, they can and will come back with mistrial and appeal shenanigans. The Judge wants this impending conviction to STICK. So.....we pay.....for justice. Like Tommy says, they do not get an open check. Basic building blocks. Bring 'em on. The truth will shine through.

"More rare, Mark said, isto be asked to assess the mental condition of someone whom he cannot see or talk to, such as in the case of Kari Baker. In 32 years, he has done it twice, he said.

A psychologist appointed for the Baker defense will be asked to assess if she was suicidal by speaking with her husband, friends,co-workers and others and examining any medical or psychological records that may exist, Mark said.

'You do a psychiatric autopsy, if you will,' Mark said. 'There are anumber of things you can do, but I don’t think it would be that precise in any case, looking at it after the fact. You can point to pros and cons, think this is why it may have occurred, look at all the factors involved, like whether there were cyclical bouts of depression. But the bottom line is that you may never really know for sure.'" (read more)

Assess away! Please! Those other than Matt, his mother (who thought suicide wasn't a bad option for Kari) and his ever-dwindling circle of supporters in Kerrville that didn't even know Kari....others actually IN Kari's life that knew her in the past or at the time of her death will clearly attest to her character and attitude and lifestyle. Assess away! It might cost the taxpayers more money because the line of these people will be sooooo long, but go for it. Please and thank you.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

DA wants DNA

What's this? The DA wants Matt's DNA? Could this mean there IS evidence? Evidence to compare DNA with? Well, I'll be.

An innocent man should have no issue with this. It will help prove his innocence, after all. Right?

Also, Matt's attorney is itching to see what Vanessa spilled to the grand jury. Something so big that she got immunity out of it. Something so big Matt was immediately indicted and arrest warrant issued without delay. Something so big that as a condition of reducing the bond amount, the Judge ordered that neither Matt nor anyone from his defense could contact her. She needed protection. We'll all hear it soon enough.

Prosecutors ask judge to order Matt Baker to submit DNA sample
Tommy Witherspoon

"The motion filed by prosecutor Crawford Long asks Strother to order Baker to submit to a swab of the inside of his mouth 'for the purpose of obtaining DNA for comparison to an item or items' gathered in the murder investigation.

Strother also will consider a motion from Baker’s attorney, Richard Ellison, who has asked for a copy of transcripts of testimony from grand jury witnesses, which are confidential unless ordered released by a judge." (read more)

Prosecutors Want To Collect Ex-Pastor’s DNA - Channel 10

"The motion asks Judge Strother to direct the defendant to, 'to submit to the taking of a DNA sample by the swabbing of the interior of the defendant's mouth for the purpose of obtaining DNA for comparison to an item taken and collected in relation to the offense that is the basis of this prosecution.'"

State files motion seeking Baker's DNA
Loren Korn
KWWV-TV - Channel 25

The judge has scheduled a hearing for April 24 to consider motions filed by the DA's office and by Ellison.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Defense wants grand jury transcripts

Former Waco-area pastor trying to get access to grand jury testimony in preparation for his murder trial
Tommy Witherspoon

"Matt Baker is curious to find out what his alleged former girlfriend told a McLennan County grand jury last month that led to his murder indictment in the April 2006 death of his wife, Kari." (read more)


"Baker has acknowledged that he gave his wife’s cell phone to Bulls after she
died and that they racked up hundreds of hours of calls on the phone." (read more)

And from the many witnesses (like the commenter in the post below) looks like the two of them spent lots and lots of hours together in perso on top of all the hundreds of hours on the phone.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


There have been lots of interesting comments over the last year Kerrville's about the Baker case. This one is new and along the lines of A LOT of what I've been hearing over the last 2 years.

From "neighbor in Woodway, TX":

"I lived down the street from Matt and Kari in Hewitt. Matt was arrogant and weirdly immature for a minister his age. Even after Kari died. We felt so sorry for him but when I approached him, he seemed bored with my sentiments for him and his girls. "We'll be fine" is all he said and changed the subject to talk about what our children were doing the next weekend.

And that woman was at his house all the time just a week later. All hours. She was even at the oldest girls slumber party that same month. She had her head on his shoulder and he laid on the couch with his head in her lap. It freaked some of the girls out. That was what made me think Kari didn't die of her own will. Not kari's parents. it was all Matt.

Glad to know people in Kerrville aren't as snowed as the Bakers would have us think."

Friday, April 10, 2009

Hey Matt....

Was the "purple fuzzy lamp" in one of the boxes of Kari's stuff you put at the curb for the trashman? Just wondering. My son asked about it tonight.

Accused murderer Baker bonds out for $250,000

Former Waco-Area Pastor Matt Baker Released From Jail - Channel 10

WACO (April 10, 2009)--Former Waco-area pastor Matt Baker was released from the McLennan County Jail Friday afternoon, a day after a state district judge reduced his bond from $500,000 to a $250,000 surety bond, which required him to post $25,000 in cash. (read more)

Accused murderer Baker bonds out for $250,000
Wendy Gragg
Former Baptist minister Matt Baker posted bond and left McLennan County Jail late this afternoon. His bond was $250,000. (read more)

Judge approves $250,000 surety bond in Matt Baker murder case

Judge approves $250,000 surety bond in Matt Baker murder case
Tommy Witherspoon

Baker Pleads Not Guilty; Judge Grants Bond Reduction - Channel 10
There is a good video on the site. There is video and audio of Matt and also interviews and some explanations by Judge Strother.

Bond reduced for former Baptist pastor charged with wife's murder
David R. Wilkinson
Associated Baptist Press

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Busy day in court...

::clink:: ::clink:: ::clink:: ::clink::
I have not seen Baker in person since shortly after Kari died. What a way to see him. The wide horitontal black and white striped jumpsuit. Rubber flipflops. Chains around his waist and wrists. Chains on his ankles that clinked on the hard courtroom floor as he walked. The beginnings of justice.
::clink:: ::clink:: ::clink:: ::clink:: Photo Slideshow
Picture #7 is chilling.

The courtroom was very full. Family. Investigators. Lawyers. And lots of press. The familiar faces of Erin Moriarty and Lisa Freed with 48 Hours. 20/20 and Dateline people as well. The local major news stations and Tommy Witherspoon with the WacoTrib were present.

After being seated in the courtroom, there was a "in chambers" meeting that lasted about an hour. Included in that were the judge, the two attorneys with the DA's office, the investigator with the DA's office, Matt and his attorney, Ellison, and the court reporter. My layman's interpretation of the explanation of that meeting was discussing Ellison's allegations that the DA's office inappropriately contacted Baker about a DNA sample.....Ellison wanting sanctions and/or protective orders against the DA's office for that....DENIED. DENIED. DENIED.

Arraignment time. The Judge asks Matt how he pleads to the charges of First Degree Murdery. Matt answers, "Not guilty." Of course. It is still amazing to me those words can come out of his mouth.

Next was discussion pertaining to bond reduction. Matt was on the stand and answered these planned out, boring questions from his attorney. Stuff like (and I'm not quoting, just general idea paraphrasing) Would you show up to court when the time comes? Are you a flight risk? Will you be a good boy while you wait for trial? Ellison asked him if he turned himself in this time? Well, yes, of course he did. He's working the strategy. He asked him if he turned himself in last September of 2007. Matt said, yes. He failed to mention that when the Texas Ranger came to his place of employment to arrest him.....well, did Matt turn himself in? Nope. He ran from that building. He ran. Fled. Not for long, mind you. He was advised to turn himself in. But he fled. His attorney failed to mention that little tidbit of information. Whatever. They had one lady friend testify for his sake with similar pre-planned questions (general paraphrasing) Do you know Matt and his parents? Are they good people? Do you think Matt will be good? Do you think Matt will show up to court? No surprise questions or answers. Then Ellison goes in his rants about his client HAVING A CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT to bond reduction. He loves to use that phrase, CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS, a lot. Seemingly daring the Judge to not give him what he wants. Heck, anything for a mistrial once Matt's found guilty. Something to fall back on.

The Judge made it very clear that if Matt does meet bond and gets out while waiting for trial, it is with the condition that he has NO contact with Vanessa Bulls whatsoever! I wonder what all the background on that is. My guess is she wanted that "protection" after testifying. I'm nervous for her if Matt gets out.

Anyway, barring any hard evidence of Matt being a flight risk, the Judge lowered his bond to a 250,000 surety bond. This means he only has to come up with 10-15% to bond out. He mentioned a family friend that helped last time by putting his property on the line for money for Matt and that Matt felt this guy might be able to do it at 200,000 again this time. Surely that man is double and triple thinking what is right. Matt wasn't indicted last time. This time he is indicted for First Degree Murder with heavy evidence and a key witness that secured that indictment. Not only is there the risk that he might run....especially as more and more evidence is made known and he is NOT going to want to see the backside of those bars again.....but just on what is the right thing to do. I want to help my friends, too. But if they do something this heinous, well......there are lines I wouldn't cross. Pray for their soul, yes. Support their crime, no.

There was much talk about whether to claim Matt indigent. It's obvious he doesn't make much money. He doesn't own property. He's gone through the insurance money from Kari's death. He claimed it was only $40,000 and basically used for legal fees. No mention of down payment on expensive truck around that time. Okay. Okay. They talked about how much he made with the part-time ebay job an how much he had coming in a month for living expenses. Matt and his attorney conveniently forgot to list the money the girls get from Kari's social security. It's THEIR money, I know. I don't think it should be used for his defense fund (or his truck payment) but I do think it should be calculated in when discussing living expenses. Anyway. He's indigent. But it was SO OBVIOUS that the Judge was NOT HAPPY with Matt getting McLennan County tax payers' money for experts in his defense. Especially since Matt is paying an attorney and not going the state-appointed indigent route. Cake and eat it, too? But then Ellison brings back his client had a CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT to have experts in his defense. Again, the Judge had to give some. He didn't give him an open-ended check, though. He wants a list of experts and amounts ahead of time. Oh, well....I don't mind helping to pay for this trial to be done fair and right with nothing for Ellison and Baker to fall back on for mistrials of justice. Let's do it right. The Judge is being very careful and thorough and I feel good that this case is being tried in his Court.

There were a few other matters that I'm still trying to figure out. There are lots more matters coming up in future hearings. And I'm sure the news stories and videos will have much more specific information. I just wanted to give my thoughts on the day. More later.

Live blog: Hearing on bond reduction request for Matt Baker by Ken Sury w/

Baker Pleads Not Guilty; Judge Grants Bond Reduction - Channel 10

I'll add more news links as I come across them.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Someone is freaking out...

Someone is terrified. Someone's attorney is terrified. I wonder why. Don't they have the truth on THEIR side? Isn't it true that the prosecution just has absolutely nothing on him? Isn't the evidence against him non-existent? Aren't they anxious for their day in court so the truth can come out?

Now the defense is scrambling. Scrambling and making stuff up. Thursday's arraignment and obligatory bond-reduction hearing is turning into,oh, so much more. Let the drama mount.

In an article by Tommy Witherspoon for the yesterday, you see that Matt's attorney is upset at the request for a DNA sample. Why? Really? Don't you want to clear Matt of any wrong doing? What are you afraid it's going to show? The TRUTH? I obviously wasn't there at the jailhouse. But I doubt the McLennan County DA's office would breach any kind of legal or ethical boundries in this highly analyzed, highly publicized case. Defense is desperate here.

Now, Matt Baker needs/wants experts and he wants McLennan County to pick up the tab? Tommy Witherspoon's article Former Waco-area preacher asks court to appoint defense experts in his murder trial in his wife's death today states:
"Former Waco-area Baptist preacher Matt Baker says he is indigent and is asking McLennan County taxpayers to pick up the tab for expert witnesses to help defend him on charges he murdered his wife.

In a motion filed Tuesday seeking funds to hire court-appointed experts, Baker’s attorney, Richard Ellison, of Kerrville, says 'fairness and due process' require that 19th State District Judge Ralph Strother approve funds for defense experts in psychology, toxicology, pharmacology and crime scene reconstruction."

Say it isn't so. Oh, much as I don't want to pay for his defense, I'm fine with paying for him to have a good enough attempt now so he can't come back later and cry foul. The truth will stand loud and clear all on its own.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Pictures from Today

I know the official date is April 8....but we all know it was actually Friday, the 7th. I went by this afternoon to drop off some flowers and say a prayer. On this 3rd anniversary, justice is finally just around the corner.

And one for sweet little Kassidy....

Monday, April 6, 2009

20/20 - Former Texas Pastor Matt Baker Indicted in Wife's 2006 Death

On their website, 20/20 has done an update on the case.
Former Texas Pastor Matt Baker Indicted in Wife's 2006 Death

One paragraph really bothers me. It is a quote from Matt's mother.
"Suicide is an answer to pain you can't get rid of," Barbara Baker said. "There was pain that Kari was undergoing that she either couldn't or didn't get the proper help for and that was not a bad answer for her."
Seriously? Am I reading that right? She is saying that suicide wasn't a bad answer for Kari?? No love lost there, I guess.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Associated Baptist Press Story

Bob Allen with the Associated Baptist Press has written a great article about Matt Baker for their website.
Former Baptist pastor indicted on murder charge

"'Justice for Kari' bumper stickers are showing up on car bumpers as far away as France.

(Photo courtesy of 'Don't Even Get Me Started' blog)"

And here is another article by Bob Allen dated February 28, 2008 for
Article Says Preacher Charged With Killing Wife a Sexual Predator

Friday, April 3, 2009

Eraser Killers - Men Who Make Women Disappear

It's always interesting to check the blog stats and see how people are getting here. Today, I found a couple of message boards (on different kinds of subject matters) where people were talking about how people in Kerrville and Waco felt about Matt Baker.

I also found this case referred to on where they are talking about Marilee Strong's book, "Erased: Missing Women, Murdered Wives." Marilee Strong (among others) puts Matt Baker in the company of Scott Peterson, Mark Hacking, Ira Einhorn, Tim Boczkowski, Barton Corbin and Drew Peterson for starters. If you go to this page on and then click on the arrows to view the various photos/stories, Matt Baker is right after Scott Peterson and Mark Hacking.

Here is the blip about this case:

"Something Not Right But some women had a feeling something would happen, and in many cases told friends or relatives, 'If something happens, check out my husband.'

In one recent case, a Baptist minister named Matt Baker claimed to have found his wife Kari dead in bed with a bottle of over-the-counter sleeping pills. They later discovered on his computer that he's researched death by overdose of sleeping pills. She also told a counselor who came forward after her death that she had found a bag of crushed pills in her husband's briefcase. Eraser crimes often involve months of preparation."

You can read more about What Makes an Eraser Killer on that website or in Strong's book. But I wanted to point out a few quotes from Marilee for you to think about:

"There are three aspects to their psychological profile. First, they have psychopathic traits and no empathy. If they can take their wife's body and chop it up and put it through a woodchipper or anchor their wife and child to the bottom of the bay -- what person could do that if they had human emotion at that level?

Yet these people aren't out-of-control, pure predators like Charles Manson or Ted Bundy. The violence is limited to their wives or girlfriends, sometimes their children or fetuses. They're so narcissistic, and they want to be the center of the world. They reach a point where they see these women and children as a burden, as an inconvenience. They're not motivated by jealousy, rage or revenge. Those things may be secondary, but what they want to do is wipe the slate clean and erase the person as if it never happened.

The third aspect of their psychology is Machiavellianism – the ability to manipulate others and strategize and plan in very dark ways. They often have an image they portray to the world as warm, generous, charming, a perfect husband or boyfriend. Ira Einhorn, a world-renowned peace expert, killed his girlfriend Holly Maddux and
kept her, like a trophy, in a trunk in his home for 18 months. These men are so cold-hearted they're perfectly happy to lie to the media, police and loved ones. Part of the narcissism is that they think they're smarter than everyone and can pull off the perfect murder -- they enjoy the battle of wits."


"Easier Than Divorce Because of their unusual psychology, eraser killers believe it is easier, quicker and more emotionally satisfying to kill than to get a divorce. They're so selfish, they don't want to share anything or have to support a wife or a child -- they just want to start over. And some just can't handle the idea of potentially looking bad by getting a divorce. If you could ever get Scott Peterson to honestly answer this question, he would probably say that he didn't divorce Laci because that would hurt her. Yet somehow, in his mind, killing her wasn't hurting her."

AND one more thought from Marilee Strong about District Attorney's and why they may take a while to take the case to trial:
"I sympathize with DAs because you only get one try. If he's exonerated because there's no evidence, even if the body shows up in his backyard after that he can't be retried."
Definately don't want to go too soon! Better to wait until you have all you need right in place. I do believe that's about where we are now.