Monday, April 26, 2010

JFK sticker comes in handy ;)

Got this email this morning. Sharing.....with permission. Thanks, Andrew!

I did want to share with you the other night I was possiby going too fast, and well a local trooper pointed it out to me. Seems he was touched by the sticker on the back of my truck. He wanted to know about what this "Justice for Kari" was all about...I was happy to share and just get a warning. He knew about "the preacher" and could hardly contain his irritation with the saga. He was definitely pro-Kari.

Andrew Nelson

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Byrd Unit, Texas State Penitentiary at Huntsville

Baker transferred from county jail to prison to begin 65-year murder sentence
Erin Quinn

"The former Central Texas Baptist minister will spend the next few weeks to few months at the Byrd Unit, a diagnostic intake facility where he will go through the prison-classification process, Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesman Jason Clark said.

As part of the process, staff at the prison will evaluate Matt Baker’s educational background, mental history, medical files and work skills, Clark said." (read more)

Friday, April 23, 2010

Huntsville Bound - Filing motions all the way

Matt Baker transferred to state prison system in Huntsville
Tommy Witherspoon

More later. This happened quick.

Baker reportedly transported to Byrd Prison Unit Channel 25

"Baker will likely spend two to four weeks in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice prison where he will be evaluated physically and mentally, as well as for his education and skills before it is determined where he will serve the remainder of his sentence." (read more)

Matt Baker Leaves McLennan County, Files Motions (KCEN-TV, Channel 6)

"Friday Baker filed two motions. One, is for a mistrial due to alleged judicial misconduct. Baker claims judicial misconduct occurred during his trial when one of the witnesses on the stand was saying Baker had an alibi -- that he was at Hollywood video when Kari died. During the witness' testimony, Judge Ralph Strother called for a break because a juror had to use the bathroom. Baker's motion says the judge interrupted the detective's testimony, and when the the break was over the judge did not have the court reporter read where the court left off.

The other, is for a new trial entirely. The motion for new trial says Baker, 'prays this court set this motion for new trial for hearing and that as a matter of law, the motion be granted and defendant be given a new trial in this case.'

However Baker's court-appointed lawyer says Baker missed the 30-day filing deadline, after he was sentenced. The lawyer, Stan Schwieger says both his motions are irrelevant, and he says Judge Strother isn't taking any action."

I'm guessing that Matt sent letters on his own for these two ridiculous "irrelevant" motions or he forced Stan's hand somehow to file them for him. Matt really things he can represent himself but he doesn't even know what relevance is and what is actually a meritorious motion. Where's the "This is a good idea" in any of that?

Gosh, I feel for Stan. He's probably getting to the Number 1 spot of people involved in this that are ready for this whole thing to be over with.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

National Crime Victims’ Rights Week

This week is National Crime Victims' Rights Week. The Advocacy Center, WPD Victim Services and the Family Abuse Center will be sponsoring a city-wide rally to remember the victims of crime and to show thier continued fight for the rights of crime victims.

Tonight I am meeting Linda for this. I'd like to make everyone aware of this event and invite you to come. Linda will be one of the speakers.

Crime Victims Rights Recognition
Call to Action
Thursday, April 22, 2010
6:00—7:00 pm
Crestview Park Grove of Hope
Waco, TX

Crestview Park just so happens to be the park across the street from what used to be Waco Christian School. This is the park where Kari undoubtedly had PE and "played" when she was a student there. I know because I grew up at Waco Christian School and this park. What a perfect place for tonight's event. Hope to see you there!

Custody Venue

Court dispute over custody of Matt Baker's daughters moves to Kerrville
Erin Quinn

“We have traveled much tougher roads these four years than the road to Kerrville,” Dulin said. “We love our granddaughters with all that we are.

. . . We are committed to helping our granddaughters heal, and we will do what is required of us to reach this goal.” (read more)

Amen, Sister!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

And again.......

Matt Baker sends letter to appellate attorney saying he wants to serve as own counsel
Erin Quinn

"After Matt Baker’s request last week to replace his court-appointed appellate attorney was rejected, the former Baptist minister and convicted murderer sent the lawyer a letter saying he wants to serve as his own legal counsel.

"I guess I didn’t make it clear enough at the hearing,' Baker’s letter to Stan Schwieger reads. 'I am firing you as my attorney. . . . I will represent myself, Pro Se.'

The law does not allow for Baker to represent himself during the appellate phase, Schwieger said." (read more)

I think I find myself rather speechless. But the last line I quoted from the article kinda says it all. Shouldn't one kinda, sorta know basic law before they represent themselves? He doesn't even know he can't represent himself in the appellate phase, but he thinks he's the best authority on the matter? Is this more advice from his "brilliant" consultant?

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Baker's request to replace appellate attorney denied

Baker's request to replace appellate attorney denied
Tommy Witherspoon

My favorite quote from Tommy's article:

Stan Schwieger:
“At all times, I have acted in the best interest of Mr. Baker, and Judge Strother has acted in an impartial manner and ruled upon the merits of the issues as he felt they should be held. There is no conspiracy, there was no conspiracy. That is a fantasy.” (read more)

Friday, April 16, 2010


Got to love me some Judge George Allen! The hearing went by so quickly I barely had time to write down a few notes and it was a done deal.

::::Layman's Interpretation Alert::::

The reason Judge Allen heard this hearing today is because Judge Strother can't rule on his own recusal motion. Strother wasn't even in the courtroom at all. I'm sure he was glad to get a break from listening to Matt's shenanigans! From what I understand, today's hearing was the only hearing that Judge Strother wouldn't preside over. It wasn't clearly stated but I believe that he will be back for any other (God, how many more can there be???) Baker hearings and motions held in district court.

The second motion for Stan (at Matt's request and I'm sure Stan would be more than slap happy to be done with this) to withdraw as counsel during the appeals process. Matt wrote a 2 page, tiny handwriting, whining and accusing letter to Stan and a copy of it also sent to Judge Strother. Wow. He's got some nerve.

"I have little choice but to believe that somehow you and Judge Strother, knowingly or unknowingly through coercion, conspired from the start and violated my civil rights to have an honest, fair and impartial hearing and to be represented by an attorney."

"It appears to be clear that neither you nor Judge Strother intended that you have to represent my best interest especially in the hearing for a new trial."

So on the record, Matt is charging that his attorney and Judge Strother committed some serious criminal behaviors here. Once again, everyone is evil, breaking laws and out to get him and conspiring and lying. And he is ever-truthful, innocent, and "yet again, violated."

I didn't have time to write down his exact words but Judge Allen told Matt something like: Stan is one of the finest appellate attorneys available and you should be extremely grateful to have him. Quit fighting against your attorney and cooperate with him. Stop listening to Fisher. Stop listening to your mother. Listen to your attorney!

Why does Matthew 7:6 flood to my mind?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Here we go again.....

Matt Baker again asking for new attorney, and for judge to recuse himself
Tommy Witherspoon

Once again.....and again.....and's everybody else's fault BUT Matt's that he is in the position he is in. I don't know if Matt really thinks he knows the law better than the Judge and all of the ever-growing mass of lawyers involved here or if he's just so used to throwing mud at the wall just to see what will stick. But here we go again....

"In a two-page letter to his appellate attorney, Stan Schwieger, which Baker copied to 19th State District Judge Ralph Strother, the 38-year-old explained he is unhappy with the court-appointed attorney’s representation thus far and told the judge he wants to “discharge him.”

Baker also asked that Strother, who presided over Baker’s murder trial in January, recuse himself from the case.

He didn’t make it clear if he wanted Strother to give him a new taxpayer-funded lawyer for his appeal before or after stepping down." (read more)

There's a hearing set for this Friday at 8:30am. I will also see if Matt's 2-page letter is filed yet.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Four Years....

Four years. Four years, two girls without their Mother. Four years, parents without their daughter. Four years, a brother missing his sister. Four years, aunts and uncles missing their dear niece. Four years, cousins without her. Four years, friends missing one of their dearest. Four years, co-workers missing one of their own. And on and on and on....Kari touched so many lives in so many ways.

It's been four years since the tragedy of Kari's murder. Almost four years of praying and working for her justice and peace for so many. At least on this anniversary of Kari's death, we have partial peace. Justice has been served. Kari's loving memory and honor publicly restored. Without question. Prayers are now directed towards Kari's precious daughters.

This is my prayer for the girls:

That you will be free to remember and love your Mother.

That you will be free to love your Mom’s family, especially your grandparents.....
and know that it is only by loving that you can heal.

When the time and circumstances are right, you will learn the truth about how
your Mom will be able to accept the truth.....and heal.

That you will be able to love your dad after recognizing and accepting the truth.....
again, it is only through love that we can heal.

That you will grow into healthy and whole young women.....
fully of joy and life, just like your mother.

That you will know now and always just how special you are and how incredibly loved you are.

God bless you all on this day of memory.

Please feel free to leave a message for Kensi and Grace and
the Dulins here or using the "Comment" link below

I'll be sure they see it. Thank you!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Email - The Ripple Effect of Kari's Death

I want to share a couple of emails (with permission) that I received yesterday from a teacher at Midway High School. She has a very unique perspective and her email also shows how Kari's death has sent ripples out farther than we even knew.

I just felt the need to write to you about your work on this blog for Kari. I am new to the Waco area so knew nothing of the murder until the trial started. I teach at Midway High School and wanted to tell you about some of my students. One had a little brother in Kari's class at the time of the murder (who is probably friends with your son), one of my kids knew the girls, the mother of one of my girls worked with Kari............and so it goes.

Since I am new to the community, I could really feel the pain and the wounds inflicted. Matt took Kari away from all of these people and inflicted untold damage. I know you know this......just wanted to tell you that the ripples are in my workplace, affecting my students and co-workers. Thank you for the blog..........."


I just want to share a few thoughts with you concerning my experience with this murder. Like I said, I have only lived in Waco for less than two years, so the first thing I knew about it was when I caught it on "48 Hours" and saw one of my co-workers, Todd Monsey, being interviewed. Then when the trial started, I saw footage of his testimony on the news. It hit me that it was a complete travesty that ANYONE should have to testify in a murder trial like this, and it just upset me that someone I knew had to do that. One of my students who knows Todd very well said that she knew Kari didn't commit suicide because "If Coach Monsey is one of your friends you would never want to die. He is just too fun."

I do have a unique perspective I guess because I can see how deep the wounds are in the community and how Kari's loss has hit kids in ways that people might not see. I too pray that the girls are removed from that environment very soon. A co-worker and I were hoping that they would get to start the new school year in August at Midway schools. I know they would be welcomed with open arms and nurtured by teachers and kids.

I admire your blog and what you have done. I also admire Linda quite a bit. Thanks for providing a forum for information and to demand justice for an innocent mother and her children. It is truly inspiring."

Friday, April 2, 2010

Baker's Mother files grievance.....

Baker's Mother Files Grievance Against Former Attorney

Before yesterday's hearing, this story was released via KXXV Channel 25. Matt's mother, Barbara Baker, is not happy with the results of the trial and wants to blame that on one of Matt's attorneys, Guy James Gray. She filed a complaint with the State Bar. Yet it's interesting that this "gross ineffectiveness" on Gray's part wasn't enough to even factor into Matt's failed motion for a new trial.

Not much to say here but I do want to point out one thing. In this article Barbara Baker says ".....she had a gut feeling her son was having an affair with Bulls, whose testimony put her son behind bars." A gut feeling? What about the January 24, 2010 interview she had with Erin Quinn of the Waco Tribune where she flat out told Erin that Matt had told her about the affair with Bulls IN THE SUMMER AFTER HIS WIFE'S DEATH? She didn't just recently come around to this gut feeling. She has known about this for 3.5 years. She and Matt lied about this to everyone for 3.5 years. And this is the MOTIVE for Matt's murdering Kari. It's NOT an insignificant detail.....or a little "ooooopsie" that they BOTH just forgot to mention. As a dear Justice for Kari prayer warrior pointed out in an email to me today, not only did they BOTH lie about this motive for murder to Matt's attorneys all throughout the years, to authorities, to Kari's family, to friends and church family.....they certainly omitted that little factoid over the years as they were aggressively soliciting and accepting funds from their unknowing and loving fellow Kerrville folks. I think it's just shocking. And very, very sad. Borderline "aid and abet," if you ask me.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Another good day in the wise and Honorable Judge Strother's courtroom

Motion for New Trial

Baker and his court-appointed attorney's original motion had six points to which they were going to try to muster up an appeal and motion for new trial on. These are explained on Channel 10's story by Eli Ross: Ex-Waco Pastor’s New Trial Motion Denied; Custody Issue Unresolved

"The original motion alleged that Baker's two trial lawyers failed to communicate adequately with Baker before the start of the trial, failed to consult or call as witnesses experts in forensic pathology or toxicology, failed to cross-examine witnesses adequately, including Baker’s former girlfriend Vanessa Bulls, failed to investigate the case adequately and that they demonstrated actions during and after the trial that showed a lack of loyalty to their client." (read more)
The Judge, Matt's court-appointed attorney, Susan Shafer and Crawford Long were in Judge's chambers for 30-45 minutes or so. By the time they came out, all the above points were abandoned and they only argued one point as the whole basis for their motion to request new trial and appeal. Here it is: The fact that the alternate juror was allowed to go into the jury room and LISTEN (NOT PARTICIPATE IN ANY WAY) to the jury deliberations and that Matt's attorneys didn't object to it. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, that is it. That's their complaint of epic OMG attorney ineffectiveness. Reason for a convicted murderer to walk out of the courtroom.

It is perfectly understandable and reasonable for an alternate juror to be present (and not participate) in jury deliberations. One juror was already lost before the trial started due to illness. Then we had a 2-week trial. There is no law or statute or rule of procedure that says the alternate should not be present. What would be better anyway? Have another juror get sick and have to start the trial all over and or the 7-hour deliberations all over again so the alternate can hear things? Both the DA's and both of Matt's attorneys say they thought it was reasonable and didn't have a problem with it. Gray even said he'd of liked to have had that particular alternate juror ON the jury.

Then Matt's attorney argued that we have no way of knowing if the silent presence (and non-participation) of the alternate juror in the deliberation room made the 12 actual jurors convict Matt. Well, the State was 2 steps ahead. Ready to testify were 2 of the jurors, including the foreperson. Alternate juror did not speak. Did not make facial expressions. Did nothing but sit there like a potted plant. And they also reminded us that she was only in there with them less than an hour-and-a-half of their seven-and-a-half hours of deliberation. The alternate juror can't see well at night and asked to be allowed to leave early (around 5:00) so she could get home safely.

Obviously and expectedly, Judge Strother DENIED the Motion for New Trial and appeal.

Custody Venue Hearing

Attorneys for the Dulins are Darren Obenoskey and Susan Johnston. For Barbara Baker, Kerrville attorney Fred Henneke. There is also a guardian at litem attorney for the girls. I couldn't quite understand her name. I will find out.

This is basically what happened in my layman's understanding. The original suit filed by the Dulins for rights to see their grandchildren was filed in 2006. In 2006, McLennan County was the proper venue for that suit because all parties lived in McLennan County. There was never a final order rendered in that suit because the outcome and circumstances of that suit were pending civil litigation against Matt and also pending the outcome of the criminal trial and conviction. Therefore, it is still basically "open" in court in McLennan County. Barbara Baker wants the custody venue changed to Kerrville for obvious reasons. Her attorney is claiming that McLennan County is an improper venue for this case. But it was the proper venue at the inception of the suit....and that suit is this suit even though it's been amended from just asking for visitation to asking now for full-custody.

The problem is that there is no clear precedent for a trial just like this. The Judge has much at his discretion on this. But being the careful and prudent Judge he is, he wants both sides to spend more time researching cases and prepare briefs for him on this subject matter. One thing I found very interesting and also very telling about Judge Strother's insight on these matters is that he asked both parties to research whether there is any connection between Baker being convicted of murder and venue change on the custody part. Does he get to take advantage of family law statute when he caused this whole thing to happen when he murdered their Mother? Judge also pointed out that the girls (and the family) lived IN McLennan County to begin with. The only reason they are there (Kerrville) is because of the murder of their Mother. I can only imagine his frustration with all this.

Anyway, while both sides are gathering more case law and reasons for their cases, the Judge has ordered them to attempt mediation. I think they agreed to it being held somewhere between Kerrville and Waco. Also the guardian ad litem attorney asked for a deposit for her fees. She initially suggested, $2,500 from the Dulins and $1,500 from the Bakers. Judge said, $1,000 from each side for now.

Matt will stay here at the county jail until the matter of venue is decided. I suppose we'll have another hearing after 30 days.

Erin Quinn, with the Waco Tribune, did a great job with her live blogging of today's events. Check that out here: Judge rejects Matt Baker's appeal for new trial; custody dispute in mediation Matt exhibited some rather odd behavior towards her.

More stories about today's events:
Channel 25 - Baker's request for new trial denied