KWTX News 10 | Central Texas, Waco

Matt Baker Trial Blog Wednesday Jan. 20

Kari Baker's mother Linda Dulin was crying as she left the courtroom and said, "We did it."

Strother revoked Baker's bond, he was taken into custody

Verdict is guilty, sentencing set for 8:30 a.m. Thursday

9:40 p.m. The judge says the jury has reached a verdict.

9:35 p.m. The jury just handed a sheriff's deputy a white folded sheet of paper. Everyone in the court is assembling.

9:15 p.m. Judge is back on the bench. He is going to send testimony requested to the jury. Baker's attorney Guy James Gray just made a motion for a mistrial based on the discrepancies in Bulls' testimony to the grand jury and what she told investigators. Gray said it was clearly becoming an issue for the jury. Judge Ralph Strother quickly denied the motion for a mistrial.

8:20 p.m. Dinner just arrived for the jury. It looks like its Uncle Dan's BBQ.

7:38 p.m. Another note. This is note #5. Judge Strother says the note says the jury is in disagreement about what Vanessa Bulls testified regarding what happened between Vanessa and Matt at Matt's daughter's birthday party and what she told authorities on March 31, 2009. The judge proposed telling the jury that since that testimony occurred during testimony, cross-examination and re-direct, it was going to be a lengthy process. "It’s going to require some labor, I advise instructing the jury...we are attempting to comply with their request." Judge Strother proposed sending back. "In the meantime, continue your deliberation and dinner is on the way." the Judge instructed the jury.

7:20 p.m. Another note from the Jury. This is note #4. The jury is asking for a transcript of Vanessa Bulls' testimony. They are also asking for dinner. The Judge advises he will send a note back that says the jury can have the transcript only if there is a disagreement about a certain portion of her testimony. Then, that portion will be provided. Both prosecutors and the defense sign off on the note to the jury. Judge Strother says he will wait to see what the jury says about his return note before ordering dinner "at the taxpayer's expense."

6:42 p.m. Judge says court has received another note from the jury. The note asks if the jury can exclude the suffocating with a pillow or do they have to find Baker drugged her AND suffocated her. This is note three. The 2nd note asked for a pair of headphones so jurors could hear the 9-1-1 call.

5:40 p.m. Judge is talking to prosecutors and Baker's attorney's He is asking what to do with the alternate juror. All sides agree to send the alternate home for the night and tell her to wait further word from the court. The judge said, "I would hate to keep her here after dark."

4:04 p.m. The jury asked the Judge if they could see the full video of the deposition played in court. The Judge, prosecutors, and the defense are now meeting at the stand. The judge rejects the jury's request.

4:01 p.m. A deputy says the jury has a note for the judge.

2:19 p.m. Jury heads to jury room to start deliberating.

2:19 p.m. Judge offers last instructions to the jury.

2:18 p.m. Crawford Long concludes his argument.

2:17 p.m. "This defendant has held himself out as a minister. The Devil can quote scripture for a purpose. He has perverted what's good and holy. He says God has forgiven me. We can't protect her from harm, we can only give her justice. From the grave, we can give her justice. I am asking you to convict this murdering minister for one reason, because he is guilty."

2:14 p.m. "The defense is grasping at straws here. They are desperate to save this man, but there is nothing to hold onto." Long says.

2:13 p.m. "I'm glad the Dulin's filed suit," Long says, because we get to hear Baker's explanation of things, "and it doesn't hold water."

2:12 p.m. Long says "everyone is repulsed" by what Bulls told us.

2:10 p.m. As for the suicide note, Long says he didn't want to convict an innocent man, "I don't want to live with that." But, Vanessa Bulls, with no prompting, told us Baker took the note and rubbed Kari's hands on the note.

2:07 p.m. "Where did he get the drugs? We don't know. We don't have to prove it." Long says.

2:06 p.m. For the third time, Long has pointed at Baker while making a point during his closing arguments.

2:02 p.m. Long is now talking about the pills. Long says that Kari found evidence that Matt was trying to kill her. Long says that Kari didn't want to believe that Matt was trying to kill her.

2:00 p.m. Long is talking about Vanessa Bulls, saying she looks awful for what she said on the stand. Long says everything she said makes her look bad, "and that is how you know she is telling the truth." Long says.

1:58 p.m. Prosecutor Crawford Long now addresses the jury.

1:58 p.m. Gray concludes the defense's closing arguments.

1:56 p.m. Gray says "Matt Baker is not worthy of praise. I am not proud to represent him, but Vanessa Bulls is not worth of praise here."

1:56 p.m. "I am not particularly proud of Matt Baker." Gray says. As for Vanessa Bulls, Gray says she may be just as bad. "She could be pathological." Gray says. Gray tells the jury she is coming clean in stages.

1:53 p.m. Gray says he has four doubts in his mind about Kari's death. The first he says is that there is no factual cause of death. He tells the jury that in a murder case, its very hard to not have that. The second doubt is the palm print on the suicide note. Gray says it "keeps rolling around in my mind" in reference to the palm print. If that suicide note belongs to her, we have a suicide and not a murder.

1:51 p.m. Guy James Gray is now delivering the rest of the closing arguments. Gray says in order to find Matt Baker guilty you have to believe Vanessa Bulls.

1:50 p.m. Danford says the crux of this case comes down to "Vanessa Full of Bulls."

1:49 p.m. Shafer objects again, this time in reference to a comment about printers related to that note found on Kari's nightstand.

1:47 p.m. Danford continues to offer comment on every witness called by the state, summerizing their arguments and refuting them.

1:45 p.m. Danford is talking about the witnesses associated with Matt Baker's daughter's birthday party and the witness from Kay's Jewelers about Vanessa and Matt shopping for engagement rings weeks after Kari Lynn died. Danford says those witnesses were designed to make you mad at Matt. You can't find him guilty because you are mad at him, Danford tells the jury.

1:42 p.m. Shafer objects again. She is over-ruled.

1:41 p.m. In reference to the autopsy, Danford tells the jury that the Dr. Quinten Reade didn't notice anything remarkable about Kari's ears, nose, and throat. Danford says they didn't see a murder, you can read their ruling, its evidence Danford says.

1:38 p.m. For the third time, Susan Shafer objects to Danford's statements, and for the third time the Judge over-rules the objection, saying the "jury will recall the evidence."

1:37 p.m. Danford tells the jury that the state's fingerprint expert is the first time prosecutors start stretching the evidence.

1:35 p.m. Danford tells the jury that they haven't heard much from him this trial, and he has been taken notes just like them.

1:32 p.m. Danford is going through the state's witnesses, one by one.

1:31 p.m. Danford starts by attacking the credibility of Vanessa Bulls.

1:30 p.m. Harold Danford now starts the defense's closing arguments.

1:30 p.m. Shafer rests.

1:29 p.m. "Look at Matt Baker and tell him you understand what he did, and you are not going to get away with it. tell you know about his dirty little lie and convict him." Shafer says.

1:28 p.m. "Kari Lynn wanted to live, she didn't want to die. She had two little girls in that house."

1:27 p.m. Shafer talks about Kari's last breath, telling the jury the last image she has before she dies is the man she loved and had children with over her.

1:26 p.m. Shafer tells the jury, "you don't have to like Vanessa" but you should believe her.

1:23 p.m. Shafer says finding the crushed pills in Baker's briefcase frightened Kari Lynn. Shafer is now reading a portion of Kari's Bible entry where she writes to God about not knowing what is wrong with Matt.

1:20 p.m. Shafer says the problems getting Baker's computer is another example of Baker's web of lies. She says the information gleamed off the mainframe is enough evidence against Baker.

1:17 p.m. Shafer references an email exchange between Kari and her mother. In the email, a defense exhibit, Kari writes her mom that she feels sick and says she may have taken two generic sleeping pills. Shafer tells the jury, would a woman who was abusing all these medications like Kari was, feel sick for taking just two sleeping pills?

1:16 p.m. Shafer says that Kari Lynn was in the way of the life Baker wanted to leave. As a Baptist preacher, he couldn't divorce Shafer says.

1:15 p.m. Shafer says that at the end of the 9-1-1 call he says he had to go, that someone was at the door. Shafer says Baker wasn't trying to save his wife, "he knew she had been dead for a long while." Shafer told the jury.

1:13 p.m. Shafer says if Kari Lynn was laying as Baker described, she wouldn't have had more pronounced lividity in one arm, Shafer says "its impossible."

1:11 p.m. Shafer calls the bedroom a "staged scene" saying that in one of the photos taken that night the cordless phone is on the charger. Shafer says Baker was not in the room after the call until Kari Lynn had been pronounced dead. Shafer says she thinks Baker was on a different cordless phone in the home, walking around, pretending to dress Kari while talking to 9-1-1.

1:09 p.m. Prosecutor Susan Shafer tells the jury that if Kari Lynn Baker didn't kill herself, then Matt Baker did. Shafer says if Baker didn't kill Kari Lynn, then why did he lie so much. Shafer then points to a hand-drawn web on a board. Shafer says she doesn't think its possible for Baker to have moved Kari Lynn off the bed, to the floor, dressed her, all while talking to 9-1-1. Shafer says she thinks its a practical matter, and she doesn't think its possible.

1:08 p.m. State starts closing arguments.

1:07 p.m. Judge Strother instructs the jury that once they retire to their jury room to deliberate, they will be able to take all the evidence from the trial with them.

1:04 p.m. Judge finishes reading the charge. He tells the jury that if they want to communicate with the court going forward, it must be written, and signed by the presiding juror. Judge Strother is now instructing the one alternate juror that she can not participate in the deliberations, but she can listen to the jurors.

12:59 p.m. Judge reads the charge. The Judge tells the jury they must find Matt Baker guilty beyond a reasonable charge to find him guilty. The judge tells them they must agree on a verdict by unanimous vote.

12:57 p.m. Recess ends. Judge Ralph Strother instructs the jury about what is going to happen this afternoon. He tells them that he will read the charge, then there will be closing arguments.

11:10 a.m.
The judge is preparing the charge.

In the grand jury indictment it lists Kari Lynn's manner of death as drugging, suffocating, or manner unknown to the jury. Defense attorney Guy James Gray objected to the manner unknown to the grand jury language included in the charge, and the judge agreed.

Judge Strother asked both sides how long they would need for closing arguments, and both sides said they would need 45 minutes. The judge then recessed for lunch, calling both sides back at 1 p.m. for closing arguments.

10:02 a.m.
The judge called for a "short" recess.

9:33 a.m.
Prosecution showed montage of video clips of various news interviews done by Baker. Defense argued it was not new or rebuttal ... but it was allowed anyway by the judge.

Prosecution continued to revisit previously allowed evidence until 10:02 when the state rested

9:26 a.m.
Prosecution recalls Linda Dulin, Kari Lynn's mother, to the stand to offer rebuttal testimony to Bulls testimony on Tuesday.

Defense argued she was not a rebuttal witness but the judge allowed it anyway.

Prosecution asked if Dulin ever touched the note. Dulin replied she had not, that she had only viewed it through the evidence bag.

Prosecution asked about a night when Kari Lynn was running late from work. According to Dulin, only she and Baker should have known Kari Lynn was late home from work. Bulls testimony on Tuesday referenced the same night in question.

9:25 a.m.
Watson stepped down and the defense rested.

8:47 a.m.
Defense called Texas Department of Public Safety forensic scientist Brent Watson to the stand.

Watson tested DNA evidence connected with case.

He specifically was submitted Unisom bottle and typed suicide note for DNA analysis.

Watson was also provided DNA samples from Bulls, Baker and various police officials from the scene as well as a partial DNA profile of Kari Lynn obtained an envelope she had licked prior to her death.

When Watson compared the profiles to evidence on bottle, he concluded that the bottle had so many DNA traces that no one could be excluded.

Watson also found the same with suicide note but determined Kari Lynn's DNA traces were the highest in number on the suicide note, making her most likely the one who touched the note.





KWTX-TV News 10 6700 American Plaza Waco, Texas 76712 (254) 776-1330 Fax (254) 751-1088
Gray Television, Inc. - Copyright © 2002-2014 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 82218347