Baker Trial: A Mother’s Suspicion And Shopping For Engagement Rings

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WACO (January 15, 2010)—Two weeks after the death of his wife Kari, former Waco pastor Matt Baker walked into a Waco jewelry store with a woman, an infant and two girls and asked to look at engagement rings, according to testimony Friday.

Baker, 38, is on trial for murder, accused of killing his wife in April 2006 and then trying to make the death look like a suicide.

The death initially was ruled a suicide, but in July 2006 McLennan County Justice of the Peace Billy Martin changed his ruling to undetermined, after an autopsy was performed on Kari's exhumed body at the urging of her parents.

Heather Sigler, who worked at Kay Jeweler’s in Waco’s Richland Mall in 2006, testified Friday that she had attended a church where Baker was pastor, so she knew the couple.

She said she was unaware that his wife, Kari, had died when she saw Baker with another woman in the store, where she said the woman tried on several rings and asked Baker’s opinion of them.

She testified that Baker responded that it didn’t matter because she would be wearing it.

Earlier Friday, jurors heard from Kari Baker’s mother, Linda Dulin, who testified that in the weeks before her daughter’s death, Kari confided she was having marital problems and that she might need to leave Matt.

She testified that after Kari’s death, her sisters were suspicious, but she said she didn't want to believe that Matt had anything to do it.

What finally raised her suspicions, she said, were her daughter’s cell phone records, which showed a series of calls from Kari’s phone to the woman with whom Baker had an affair, Vanessa Bulls.

Jurors also listened Friday to Matt Baker’s taped deposition, in which he described finding his wife lying nude and lifeless on the bed.

He described trying to dress her as he called 911.

District Judge Ralph Strother recessed the trial shortly after noon Friday.

Jurors won’t return to court until Tuesday because Monday is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

Earlier In The Trial

Matt Baker Trial Blog Wednesday Jan. 13

Matt Baker Trial Wednesday Jan. 13

Matt Baker Trial Blog Thursday Jan. 14

Matt Baker Trial Thursday Jan. 14

Matt Baker Trial Blog Friday Jan. 15