Greenbank murderer files appeal

A former Antarctic scientist and Whidbey pizzeria owner who murdered his wife in their bed five years ago filed a new appeal.

It’s a turnaround from last year, when Robert “Al” Baker, 67, protested after attorneys filed an appeal on his behalf, without his knowledge or consent.

In court, his attorney claimed Baker accepted his guilt in killing his wife, Kathie Baker, knows he will die in a Walla Walla prison and didn’t want to put her family through an appeal. Baker received an exceptional sentence of 52 years in prison, the same as his original sentence.

Baker apparently changed his mind about accepting guilt.

In the new appeal, Baker filed a personal restraint petition — in his own handwriting — alleging ineffective assistance of counsel. He argued that his trial attorney, Tom Pacher, didn’t properly defend him.

Baker alleged that Pacher was overburdened with other work and that Pacher’s health was poor. He claimed Pacher didn’t properly investigate the case, failed to call expert witnesses and didn’t present an alibi for Baker.

Island County Chief Criminal Prosecutor Eric Ohme, who tried the case, filed the prosecutor’s response with the court last week. He argues against “Baker’s shotgun second-guessing of his attorney’s performance.”

Ohme writes that Baker’s allegations are not supported by admissible facts and that his claims failed to overcome the presumption that his attorney’s performance “did not meet a professional standard of reasonableness.”

In addition, Ohme argues that the evidence against Baker was so overwhelming that the outcome was inevitable.

The Bakers met at a science station in Antarctica and owned a pizza joint in Freeland.

The prosecutor posited Baker panicked in the summer of 2012 when it turned out his wife was going to be at their Greenbank home at the same time his girlfriend was visiting. He killed Kathie Baker in her bed and dragged her body through the house, leaving a bloody trail that deputies noticed while investigating after her employer reported her missing.

Deputies found her body wrapped in a tarp in a ravine in their backyard. Baker was sleeping on a bloody mattress in a house with bloody drag marks across the carpet, which he tried to clean. Baker repeatedly lied to investigators and had no alibi.

“A mountain of evidence existed to show that he did just that,” Ohme wrote. “No matter what defense was put forth, it is inconceivable that the outcome of the case would have been different.”

File photo Murderer Robert “Al” Baker, a former Greenbank resident, is appealing his conviction.

More in News

Whidbey walkers raise money to fight cancer

Why do you walk? That question is a mantra of sorts for… Continue reading

Commissioners consider Clinton-to-Ken’s Korner paved trail once again

In 2018, county returned grant funding for project

Developers present new concept to Langley Council

An ongoing discussion over a proposed Coles Road development took a small… Continue reading

Two Democrats will challenge Rep. Norma Smith in 2020

Democratic candidates are getting an early start in their bid to replace… Continue reading

South Whidbey celebrates its children Sept. 14

Children’s Day takes over the South Whidbey Community Center from 10 a.m.… Continue reading

Buffalo abuse and submarine theft | Island Scanner

Tuesday, July 23 At 11 a.m., a caller reported that tires and… Continue reading

Langley city council supports gun control

By Wendy Leigh wleigh@whidbeynewsgroup.com In a unanimous vote at the Langley City… Continue reading

Three people seriously injured in head-on collision Saturday

Two people were airlifted and another seriously injured in a head-on collision… Continue reading

New Bayview fire station to open Aug. 24

By Wendy Leigh wleigh@whidbeynewsgroup.com Reactions to the brand-spanking-new fire station in Bayview… Continue reading

Most Read