Friday, February 26, 2010

Custody: Gentry & Baker

Unlike in Baker case, custody of children left after Gentry murder conviction appears settled
Tommy Witherspoon

Once again, Matt not following proper procedure. If he'd finally admit his attorney knows more about the law that he does, he might get more of what he wants. But he continues to insist on doing it his way:

"Former Central Texas minister Matt Baker tried this week to file a motion to transfer venue of the custody fight between his parents and his wife’s parents from Waco to Kerrville.

But, Baker did not submit a filing fee or proper affidavit alleging his indigence, so McLennan County District Clerk Karen Matkin was unable to file his motion." (read more)

Gracious, Darlene and Matt do have quite a bit in common. She still won't accept her guilt and punishment three years after being found guilty and sentenced to 60 years.

"Gentry was caught on videotape trying to retrieve the pistol she threw into a pond near Axtell after shooting her husband as he slept. Their three sons were asleep down the hall.

She filed a state motion for writ of habeas corpus Tuesday, alleging she was wrongfully convicted, did not receive a fair trial and is unlawfully imprisoned." (read more)

I think Gentry's attorney, Damon Reed, gets a little ahead of himself with this quote:

“In comparing our case to the Baker situation, I believe that the parent and grandparents involved put the children ahead of their own personal issues to get the matter settled and to keep the matter out of court,” Reed said. “They should
all be commended for it. At this point, it is a grandchild issue. It is not a murder case.” (read more)

Darlene was sentenced over 3 years ago, and that was 5 years after the murder. What part of it taking 3+ years to work out a custody arrangement is to be applauded? What has happened in the 3+ years getting to this point? Also, Mr. Reed, if you don't know the parties and circumstances involved, I don't think it prudent to take the "high horse" stance. I'm open to more info. But this bit sounds braggy.....without warrant.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Editorial article found in the Baylor University Lariat. Thanks for attention to "Kari's Law," Claire.

Editorial: Texas legislators should comply with Waco family's push for 'Kari's Law'
Claire Taylor
Baylor Lariat Staff

"The question of how many other similar cases exist and have been overlooked as a result of the current Texas law is an unsettling one. While an autopsy cannot provide all the answers needed in a murder case, it can at least serve as a deterrent to those thinking of masking a murder as a suicide in the future.

Regardless of what the "right" answer may be, this is an issue that needs to be addressed. Citizens are concerned enough about it to bring it to the attention of legislators, and our lawmakers should ensure that the proper consideration be given to it. It is obvious that the current system has failed, so a healthy dialogue about this is certainly in order."

The article is also about the Purdy's letters to Justice of the Peace Billy Martin and other state and local officials about "Kari's Law." Don't forget to mail your letters if you haven't already. The links to download the letters are on the top of the right column here on the blog. Thank you all for your support, encouragement, dedication and letter-writing for this potentially life-saving law.

*Thanks to "News" for finding this and letting me know. ;)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Coming Soon....

You guys asked for it, you got it. Thanks to Linda R. for ordering a new batch of bumper stickers! I will let you know when they are in and when you can send your SASE's in for your "Love Trumps Evil" stickers.
Don't forget to send in your letters if you haven't had a chance yet. I have the links to the two letters in the top right column of the blog so you can find and share them easily. Let me know if you have any trouble with the downloads or any questions at all.
God bless you all!!
**More news and links on today's news later.......

Matt Baker files motion for new trial, citing attorneys' poor performances
Tommy Witherspoon

Monday, February 15, 2010

Problem with printing letters

Many of you were having trouble with the website letting you download and print the letters. Someone suggested (Thanks, News) to try Google Docs. So here goes:

Kari's Law - Letter to Justice of the Peace Billy Martin

Kari's Law - General Letter

Let me know via comment here or email if this does or does not work for you. Sorry for the trouble. This is something new for me. Thanks for all your support!!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Editorial in today's Waco Tribune Herald

This is an EXCELLENT editorial that can be found at

EDITORIAL: After Matt Baker case, law should require deaths undergo autopsy before ruled suicide

"But what if the Dulins hadn’t been so driven in their efforts to reopen the case? What if the death of Kari Baker — drugged, then suffocated to death by her husband — had been allowed to fall through the cracks, with little in the way of an inquest or meaningful investigation? How many cases, we now wonder, are missed because they lack determined advocates such as the Dulins?"

"Tom and Jan Purdy, of Waco, friends of the Dulins and privy to their uphill battle to reopen the investigation, are now pushing what they and others call “Kari’s Law,” which would require autopsies in such cases rather than leave the decision to authorities who are possibly overburdened with yet other duties (including issuing warrants, conducting marriages or setting bail) or are simply ill-equipped to make these critical decisions themselves."

"The idea certainly rates thoughtful consideration by lawmakers, especially considering that justices of the peace are elected positions, occupied by individuals who range widely in terms of competence, wisdom and knowledge. Many are excellent, some are not. And many do have other taxing duties." (read more)

Please click on the link and read the editorial. It's hard to pick just a couple quotes from such a richly written article.

Waco couple pushes for 'Kari's Law'

Waco couple pushes for 'Kari's Law' to make autopsies mandatory for suspected suicides
Erin Quinn

"A retired Waco couple is pushing state officials to amend Texas law in honor of 31-year-old Hewitt teacher Kari Baker, whose husband almost got away with murder by making her death look like a suicide.

Tom and Jan Purdy wrote a letter this week to 14 local and state officials urging them to back 'Kari’s Law,' which would mandate that an autopsy is conducted on any suspected suicide." (read more)

There are so many, many things that could have been done differently at Kari's crime scene that would have alleviated all the extra pain of the last four years and money spent gaining eventual justice for Kari. There has to be change. Change in the laws. And change in the hearts and minds of those whose paychecks are signed by the taxpayers of McLennan County. Autopsies for apparent suicides. Great! Local ME's office. Great! Person in charge of declaring a suspicious death of a young, healthy, vibrant 31-year old woman to be murder or suicide getting out of bed and showing up at what could be a crime scene..........FREE!

A comment on another website brings up the cost of autopsies....and how McLennan County would be picking up the tab on those. It costs approximately $2,000 to send a body to Dallas for an autopsy. I'm sure if we had our own ME and could do the autopsies locally, it would be much less plus as someone pointed out on the WacoTrib article, McLennan County would be able to make money by offering surrounding counties a closer ME's office for their autopsies. Okay. How much county funds were spent bringing Kari's murderer to justice? How much Dulin funds were spent investigating this case to a point where it was looked at by the District Attorney's office? How many autopsies could have been done with that money? Hundreds? Thousands? Erin reports there are approximately 25 suicides in McLennan County per year. You can do the math.

Can those involved in handling Kari's murder scene and eventual investigation look into Kari's daughters' eyes, hold their hands, and say that they did everything for their mother that they would have done for one of their very own family members? I personally know many of them that could. There are many more that it's obvious didn't even come close. What level of commitment do YOU want from your elected officials and law enforcement personnel if they were investigating YOUR mother or daughter's death?

If things are done right to begin with, not only do we save hundreds of thousands of dollars, we also save the mothers and fathers, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and children of murder victims years of grievous hell on earth. And you can't put a price tag on that.

Friday, February 12, 2010

"Kari's Law"

On top of amazing and answered prayers, you all have been asking what more you can do to help. I have an answer! Tom and Jan Purdy, fellow church members with the Dulins at Calvary Baptist Church, have started an amazing campaign working to pass “Kari’s Law.” If a law like this could be passed, it would save COUNTLESS families from tragedies like the Dulins went through on top of and after the murder of their daughter, Kari. Not only that, it could even prevent some of these horrible murders set up to look like suicides if the potential murderer knew that their intended acts would be analyzed and investigated and not set aside for years and possibly never even questioned or looked at. Had a law like this been in place when Kari was murdered, it would have saved hundreds of thousands of dollars spent investigating and fighting for justice, both out of the Dulins’ pockets and the county’s pockets. It would have saved almost four years of agony and uncertainty for all involved. Kensi and Grace would never have had to live with the grievous lie that their mother left them of her own hand. Had a law like this been in place, Matt might not have even had the audacity to carry out Kari’s murder at all. “Kari’s Law” could be life saving!

The Purdy’s have drafted two letters. One is addressed specifically to Justice of the Peace Billy Martin. The other is to be sent to thirteen elected officials and some local legal experts as well. With just a little time and a few bucks for ink and postage, you can be a HUGE part in bringing about Kari’s Law. Let’s flood these offices with our letters and support and make this happen. It will honor Kari’s memory. It will save lives.

Here is a portion of one of the letters:

"We’re writing you because Texas law regarding “deaths requiring an inquest” must be changed and you can do something about it. See Texas Code of Crim. Pro §49.01 et. seq.

The tragic example necessitating this change is the case of Texas v. Matt Baker. As you know, in that case Matt Baker was found guilty of murdering his wife Kari by drugging her and then suffocating her with a pillow. During the trial, the evidence revealed that Baker staged the murder scene to make the responding officers believe Kari’s death was a suicide. An autopsy was later performed, but only after a formal inquest hearing was granted and after Kari had been interred. If, however, a full or partial autopsy would have been a mandatory requirement for apparent suicides, like it is in other states such as Oklahoma or Georgia, crucial evidence against Mr. Baker would have been better preserved.

As it stands, current Texas law states that a justice of the peace shall conduct an “inquest into the death of a person who dies if the person commits suicide or the circumstances of the death indicate that the death may have been caused by suicide.” Texas Code of Crim. Pro. §49.04. An “inquest means an investigation into the cause and circumstances of the death…, and a determination, made with or without a formal court hearing, as to whether the death was caused by an unlawful act.” Texas Code of Crim. Pro §49.01. Moreover, a justice of the peace can conduct the “inquest…at any other place determined to be reasonable by the justice.” In the Baker case, this meant that the presiding justice of the peace was able to investigate Kari Baker’s death and determine the cause via a late night phone call without getting out of bed. Finally, a justice of the peace has the sole discretion of whether to order an autopsy. Texas Code of Crim. Pro §49.10.

An illuminating article in the February 7, 2010 Waco Tribune-Herald revealed that a justice of the peace receives only six hours of training in determining deaths. With all of the other duties of a justice of the peace –performing marriages, issuing warrants, setting bail, conducting criminal and civil trials- it seems that determining death is one duty that should be void of discretion and ultimately up to a medical professional. The same article revealed that in 2009 the County spent approximately $160,000 on autopsies, all of which had to be conducted in Dallas because McLennan County is not required by law to have a medical examiner. While the point of “Kari’s Law” will be to eliminate the discretion in determining death and put that in the hands of a medical professional it seems that McLennan County should be able to hire a medical examiner based on the amount of funds that are already being expended to send these crucial cases to Dallas.

Accordingly, we are asking that you advocate for “Kari’s Law.” Since causes of death are not always obvious, especially when criminals go to great lengths to deceive law enforcement officers, “Kari’s Law” would require either a full or partial autopsy in cases where a person dies as a result of suicide. Texas does not need to experience another State v. Baker, and Texas families should not have to request a formal inquest hearing in order to find the truth."

NOTE: The site wasn't working right. I have uploaded these documents to Google Docs and it seems to be working fine. OR you can email me and I will attach them in my email reply. There will be some instructions in bold print at the top of each letter you download. After you make the appropriate changes to customize your letters, don’t forget to delete the instructions at the top. Thanks so much!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


Baker loses bid for new attorney as maternal grandparents of daughters file for custody
Tommy Witherspoon

"Baker, 38, was sentenced to 65 years in prison last month in the April 2006 suffocation and drugging death of Kari Baker, the girls’ mother. He remains in the McLennan County Jail awaiting transfer to prison.

The Dulins pledged to seek custody of the girls and make them their first priority at the completion of Baker’s trial." (read more)

Below are two more quotes from Tommy's article and my comments are bolded.

“They have a good set of friends that they have had for nearly four years now in school, and they are in good classes with good friends,” Barbara Baker said. “They are involved in sports, community activities, church activities, and the thought of changing all that terrifies them.”
Well, three and a half years ago the girls were uprooted from where they had been living, pulled out of good classes and away from good friends. In Hewitt and Waco, they were involved in sports, community activities, church activities. After killing their mother, Matt uprooted the girls' world and moved them to Kerrville. And you know what, that's okay with me. There were other grown-up issues the girls weren't old enough to understand. Matt wanted to be with his family for help. Moving happens all the time. Adults have to decide what is best. There are reasons that children don't make such huge family decisions.

The girls are convinced that their mother committed suicide and that their father has been wrongfully convicted, she said.
This is HUGE. We can't know at this point in time know what the girls would want if they were allowed to know the truth, work through it, heal and grow from it. Barbara Baker will not allow the truth in that household. She says it adamantly, wholly, time and time again. TRUTH IS NOT AN OPTION in the Baker household. And even if there is that seed in the girls hearts and minds that they do believe Kari didn't leave them of her own choosing, they would not be allowed to show it, verbalize it, question it. TRUTH IS NOT AN OPTION in the Baker household. I could live with moving and uprooting. It sucks for kids. Sucks for kids all around the world that are moving for the family's (and their) best interest and wellbeing. What I can't stand is a murdered woman's children being force-fed lies for years and years and even in the face of the truth and conviction of their mother's murderer, can't embrace the truth and begin to finally heal. How can they be free to express their true feelings and thoughts in a household that simply will not allow it. Without truth, there can be no healing. I don't care if you show up to every basketball game, school play, church on Sunday, etc; if truth is barred from your home and harmful, disgusting lies piled upon these girls year in and year out ON TOP OF the complete desecration of their sweet Mother's memory and continual murder of her spirit year after year, you are not spiritually and emotionally fit to raise these two girls. Period. Without truth, what do you have? The absence of truth raises what?

I will close with a comment from the article that is left by "hb." It is worth sharing wherever it can be shared:
"This whole situation is tragic. These girls have had their lives shaped by the tragedy of the loss of their mother and now the loss of their father. The main issue must be the ultimate welfare of the girls - not just for today, this school year, but for their entire lives. The only way they can begin to heal is to honestly face the tragedies that have occurred. Living in Kerrville, I know that the girls have many good friends and are secure in their lives. My niece is one of their good friends. However, I do not believe that the Baker's will give them the counseling that is needed for the healing to occur. They still refuse to admit that Matt did anything wrong. At this point, that shows not only mindful ignorance, but neglect as well. While it may be hard to uproot them, it is better than leaving them to grow in a toxic household. That is not to say the Baker's are evil people, I am sure they are not, but there is line between support of your children and indulence [indolence] in harmful behavior. I think they have crossed that line. And looking at this from the perspective of the Dulin's, would any of you be willing to let your grandchildren stay with the family that was responsible for killing your daughter? As a parent, I would never do that and neither will Linda and Jim."

Monday, February 8, 2010

Judge denies Baker's further abuse of the system....I mean, request for YET another attorney that might possibly believe for a minute

Judge denies Matt Baker's request to replace attorney
Tommy Witherspoon
Judge Ralph Strother of Waco's 19th State District Court denied a request today from convicted killer Matt Baker to replace his court-appointed appellate attorney.The judge told Baker that Waco lawyer Stan Schwieger is an "excellent
appellate attorney," adding that he would not have appointed him to the case if he didn't think so. (read more)

Judge Denies Ex-Pastor Matt Baker's Request For A New Attorney
Eli Ross
KWTX - Channel 10

WACO (February 8, 2010)—State District Judge Ralph Strother said no Monday to a request from former Waco pastor Matt Baker for a new attorney to represent him as he appeals his conviction for murder in the April 2006 suffocation death of his wife Kari Lynn.

"When you rely on the taxpayers you don't get to choose,” Strother told Baker Monday.

"Stop listening to people who have no knowledge of the system,” Strother said. (read more)

Sunday, February 7, 2010

My Two Cents on Justice of the Peace Martin

While reading Erin Quinn's article, Justices of Peace have leeway in dealing with death issues, on the this morning, several things came to mind. A couple of quotes, in particular, from her article speak volumes: (italic emphasis by me)

"Texas law states that a justice of the peace can conduct an inquest — or determine the cause and circumstances of a person’s death — where the person died, where the body was found, or 'at any other place determined to be reasonable by the justice.'”

"With no qualifications required, a vague law to follow and only voters as
their bosses
, McLennan County’s eight justices of the peace make rulings on
every death, even those attended by some physicians. They can seek information
from the person’s family, an autopsy, law enforcement, doctors and what they’ve
learned in their training."

I left a comment on the online article, but I think it was either too long or contained a link or maybe just too bold to be published. So I will just post it here in my forum and invite your comments and thoughts on the matter:

Erin, those two quotes from your article speak volumes. As citizens of McLennan County, we have the authority and duty to vote in the best people to be our Justices of the Peace. We have to vote in Justices of the Peace that are not only wise and vigilant but also inquisitive and caring enough that we can trust them to use this wisdom and vigilance to make informed, reasonable determinations.

Granted, there are not a lot of murders in Hewitt, Texas and this is not routine for these officers. Mistakes were made, yes. But at least three officers/detectives with the Hewitt PD made reference to an autopsy. The following information is all on the record and can be found by viewing or downloading the August 29, 2007 formal inquest proceedings from the You will find that link here:

Sergeant Kasting was the FIRST one to call JP Martin. He reported his findings at the scene to him. He read the typed suicide note to JP Martin. I do not know if he indicated to him that it was an un-signed, typed note or not. That would be interesting to know. Then Detective Bond arrives at the scene and takes the photographs and asks Kasting if an autopsy was ordered. Detective Bond must have had a reason to ask. Sergeant Kasting didn't specifically ask JP Martin if he wanted to order an autopsy in his first phone call so he called JP Martin a SECOND time and specifically asked about ordering an autopsy. JP Martin said that no, at that time he wasn't going to order one. Then Detective Cooper arrives on the scene. He and Sergeant Kasting discuss their observations. Detective Cooper asks specifically if he had contacted a justice of the peace and Kasting said that he had and that JP Martin did not want to order an autopsy. Detective Cooper was concerned enough that he contacted JP Martin himself. This was the THIRD phone call by authorities on the scene to JP Martin in the early morning hours of April 8. Detective Cooper went over his observations with JP Martin and even on this third phone call, JP Martin still did not order an autopsy. Detective Cooper was still so concerned about this lack of order for autopsy, that he called his police captain and informed him of the situation. Police captain actually said it was okay and that if the justice of the peace didn't want an autopsy, they wouldn't have one.

Lots of balls were dropped during this whole investigation and ordeal leading up to Matt's second arrest, indictment and finally his conviction. And I know that people make mistakes and that Justice of the Peace Martin is only human. But God Lord, even after THREE phone calls from authorities on the scene, he doesn't think it's even important or curious enough to pause, ask questions or attempt to come to the scene for himself? This was his "reasonable determination"? I would also like to add that even on the witness stand at the murder trial, JP Martin seemed to take no responsibility or have any regrets for not ordering an autopsy on Kari's murdered body. Has he learned nothing from this horrible mistake? Has he done the same thing since Kari's murder? Will he continue to do so in the future? Is this what the voters and taxpayers of McLennan County deserve from their justices of the peace?

I do give thanks that in August of 2007, Justice of the Peace Martin finally rose to the task of asking investigative questions at this formal inquest and taking the big step forward in changing his previous un-investigated ruling on cause of death as suicide to the slightly more-informed ruling on cause of death as undetermined. That started the ball rolling for Justice for Kari. For that, I do thank you Justice Martin. And I hope and pray that all of McLennan County Justices of the Peace remember the travesty of justice shown to Kari Dulin Baker (and her daughters and family) for so long before due diligence finally came to her murder case.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Expert Opinion VS Baker Opinion

Convicted killer Baker, appellate attorney seek to part ways
Tommy Witherspoon

"Baker’s letter says he wants to fire Schwieger “due to his refusing to represent me appropriately in a post-conviction motion (i.e. motion for new trial).”

Baker’s mother, Barbara Baker, said Thursday the Bakers are seeking to replace Schwieger because he reportedly told them he did not intend to file a motion for new trial, which is rarely granted.

She said he told them that he would wait for a transcript of the trial to be prepared and then file a direct appeal." (read more)

God forbid the self-proclaimed "Baker Duet" take the advice of an experienced appellate attorney in state and federal court and instead insist on playing this out according their their thoughts on the matter. Go ahead and throw precedent and legal logic out the window and then call foul on the system when it doesn't work for you. Looks like the final nail in this coffin will be self-imposed.

Tommy also has an update on Vanessa in the article.

VIDEO: Channel 25 - Bruce Gietzen's phone interview with Barbara Baker

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Whoops! Another one ran for the door.........

Report from

"The former Central Texas pastor charged with the murder of his wife, Matt Baker, seems to be having legal problems.
Thursday morning Baker's appellate attorney, Stan Schwieger, submitted a motion to withdraw from Baker's case." (read more)

Baker asks for new lawyer in murder case appeal
Tommy Witherspoon

"The judge said that Waco attorney Stan Schwieger presented his court Thursday with a motion to withdraw as Baker's appellate attorney." (read more)

View Matt's handwritten letter to Judge Strother here in Tommy's article linked above.

Matt Baker files a motion requesting a new appeals lawyer
Channel 25 -

"WACO - Convicted murderer and former pastor Matt Baker has filed a motion to
withdraw Stan Schwieger as his appeals attorney." (read more)

Wonder why no attorneys want anything to do with the "murdering minister"? Hearing scheduled Monday at 10:00 to discuss this matter. Should be interesting.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

In answer to your emails....

Goodness. So many people have contacted me via email and phone about how they can help the Dulins in this next leg of their legal journey as they work to get Kensi and Grace the help they need. Professional help for replace hate with love....give them back their childhood....let them know it is okay to love their Mom, their Mom's family....and yes, still love their Dad! No one in Kari's family wants these girls to feel pulled or hurt more than they already are. However, this won't be easy because Matt Baker's family seems determined to continue this charade and denial and for that, that ultimate losers are the girls.....Kari's daughters!! Without the truth, there can be no healing. How can someone without even one loving thing to say about their Mother raise them with the real truth of how much their Mother loved them and how she did not leave them by her own hand? Matt's mother statements about Kari have always been completely negative...even going to far as to say that, "Suicide is an answer to pain you can't get rid of......and that it was not a bad answer for her [Kari]."

Kensi and Grace deserve, above all, to know their Mother adored them! Loved them beyond measure! Would have never left them! They deserve to know, work through and blossom on the other side of the truth!

I believe that the Dulins are Kensi and Graces VERY BEST (and possibly only) way for them to grow up whole and free from lies and hate and be able to heal with the truth. As you can hear and see for yourself in Linda's victim's impact statement, Jim and Linda have forgiven Matt. They are not harboring hate in their hearts or home. They just want truth, love and freedom for Kari's daughters.

A portion of an email from a friend, Sadie, hits the nail on the head.... "Bottom line: The Bakers cannot hold the delusional (or self-protecting) line that Matt is innocent and Kari committed suicide -- and that the Dulins had Matt railroaded,etc., -- without harming the girls and their ability to cope with the truth about their parents."

Okay. I'm not saying what you don't already know. I have received so many emails and phone calls saying the very same things. For the so many of you that have expressed the desire to help the Dulins in the next leg of this journey of getting Kari's daughters the help and healing they need, please feel free to email me and we can talk. God bless you and above all, keep those prayers up!