Date Set For Murder Trial Of Former Waco-Area Pastor Matt Baker

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WACO (December 23, 2009)--Former Waco-area pastor Matt Baker, who was indicted murder in the death of his wife, is set for a final pre-trial hearing next week in Waco before his trial begins in January.

Baker and his attorney will appear in Judge Ralph Strother's 19th State District Court next Wednesday for the final pre-trial hearing.

Baker's trial is set to begin on Jan. 11, 2010.

Assistant McLennan County District Attorneys Susan Schaeffer and Crawford Long are prosecuting the case.

Baker is accused of murdering his wife Kari Lynn Baker and attempting to make her death appear to be a suicide.

Kari Baker died at the couple's residence in Hewitt in April 2006 and the death initially was ruled a suicide.

In July 2006 McLennan County Justice of the Peace Billy Martin changed his ruling on the death from suicide to undetermined, after an autopsy was performed on her exhumed body at the urging of her parents.

Baker was arrested on the original charge but those charges were dropped after the district attorney failed to indict Baker within a reasonable time.

A year later Baker was indicted and re-arrested after his then girlfriend came forward with information that led prosecutors to believe they could get an indictment.

Vanessa Bulls testified during the grand jury investigation and her testimony was crucial to the indictment.

The subsequent autopsy showed traces of sleeping pills and medicine in her muscle tissues.

Matt Baker has been free since April on $250,000 bond.

Baker was a former pastor at several area Baptist churches and once served as chaplain at the Waco Center for Youth.

He holds degrees from Baylor University and Baylor's Truett Seminary.

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