After A Day Of Damning Testimony, The State Rests In Former Waco Pastor’s Murder Trial

By: By Eli Ross Email
By: By Eli Ross Email

WACO (January 19, 2010)— The state rested its case late Tuesday afternoon in the murder trial of former Waco pastor Matt Baker, 38, who’s accused of killing his wife Kari Lynn in 2006 and then trying to make the death look like a suicide.

The prosecution’s final witness was Dr. Sridhar Natarajan, the chief medical examiner for Lubbock County, who testified that based on his review of postmortem photos, injuries to Kari Baker’s nose are consistent with those found on people who have been smothered.

But it was the testimony of Baker’s ex-girlfriend Vanessa Bulls, 27, that dominated the day.

Baker testified Baker told her he drugged Kari, handcuffed her to the bed, and then suffocated her with a pillow, telling her to say “hi” to the couple’s daughter who died of a brain tumor in 1999.

"He said that they then went to the bedroom, he bought some handcuffs and some toys like that, he said he handcuffed her to the bed, started kissing her and touching her all over, and he said, I don't know if he took her clothes off or not he never specified, he said he kept doing that until she fell asleep," she testified.

"He said then, whenever she did he kissed her on the forehead, and either said give Kassidy a hug for me or give Kassidy a kiss for me, then he said he put the pillow over her face."

Kassidy, one of the couple’s daughters, died of a brain tumor in 1999.

Bulls testified Tuesday she didn't help Baker plan the murder or participate in it, but said she never reported it to authorities because she was afraid of exposing the affair that she said began about two months before Kari Baker's death in April 2006.

“I may lose my job as a teacher, everyone is looking at me really bad right now,” she said.

“I am setting things right, I made a mistake here because a manipulative liar wearing the mask of God came into my life. And this testimony is going to put him where he needs to be and he can't hurt me again, or hurt anyone else again,” she said.

The defense acknowledged the affair between Baker and Bulls in its opening statement, but maintains that Kari Baker took her own life after battling severe depression over her daughter’s death seven years earlier.

Baker’ attorney, Guy James Gray, said he anticipates completing presentation of the defense case Wednesday, but told the court he had to make a decision about a final witness.

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

Matt Baker Trial: Friday Jan. 15

Matt Baker Trial Blog Tuesday Jan. 19





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