KY Governor Pardons Convicted Killer Whose Brother Hosted A Fundraiser For Him
Outgoing Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin issued a pardon this week for the brother of a man who raised $21,500 at a political fundraiser last year to help pay down the Republican’s campaign debt, according to The Courier Journal.
Patrick Brian Baker was convicted on charges of reckless homicide, robbery, impersonating a peace officer and tampering with evidence in relation to a fatal 2014 home invasion.
Baker’s brother and sister-in-law, Eric and Kathryn Baker, hosted a fundraiser for Bevin at their home in 2018, which the Governor attended. The couple also donated $4,000 to Bevin’s campaign on the day of the fundraiser, The Courier Journal reported.
Commonwealth’s Attorney Jackie Steele told the publication it would be an “understatement to say I am aggrieved” by the Governor’s decision to pardon Baker. Steele was the prosecutor on the case.
He said Baker had served only two years of a 19-year sentence for the death of Donald Mills, who was killed during the home invasion. Steele also noted that the other two defendants convicted alongside Baker are still in prison, asking, "What makes Mr. Baker any different than the other two?"
Steele said he believes Baker received the pardon while the others did not because of his brother’s generosity to Bevin’s campaign.
“State records show that Victoria Baker, who lives at the same Corbin address where the fundraiser was held, donated $1,000 in 2015,” The Courier Journal reported, “and that Kathryn Baker gave another $500 to Bevin’s reelection in March.”
Upon issuing the pardon on Friday, Bevin said Baker had made “a series of unwise decisions in his adult life” and that his drug addiction “resulted in his association with people that in turn led to his arrest, prosecution and conviction for murder.”
The Governor added the evidence in the case against Baker “sketchy at best. I am not convinced that justice has been served on the death of Donald Mills, nor am I convinced that the evidence has proven the involvement of Patrick Baker as a murderer.”
Judge David Williams, who sentenced Baker in 2017, disagreed with Bevin’s assessment of the case. He told The Courier Journal that in 30 years of practice, “I’ve never seen a more compelling or complete case … the evidence was just overwhelming.”
According to the indictment, “Baker and co-defendant Christopher Bradley Wagner posed as law enforcement officials to force their way into Mills’ home, where they fought with Mills before Baker shot him.”
Steele said it was Baker who pulled the trigger, killing Mills.
Wagner was sentenced to 10 years, and another man, Elijah Message, was sentenced to 20 years for second-degree manslaughter and robbery.