Matt certainly didn't seem like he had anything to hide. “The vice president’s comment to me was that she had falsely accused someone in high school of doing something like this,” Matt said. Matt pointed out that one of the perils of his profession was dealing with accusations from females who, for whatever reason, misinterpreted a friendly hug or a lighthearted comment. Just about everyone at the funeral knew what happened to Kari each spring—in late March, to be precise, right around the anniversary of the death of her second child, Kassidy, who had succumbed to brain cancer seven years earlier. Get our weekly newsletter, filled with good reads, news analysis—and updates on special events.
In March 2008, "20/20" documented six other complaints against Baker -- including one by a female custodian from the First Baptist Church of Waco, who said Baker grabbed her sexually; a teenage girl from the same church who claimed he spoke to her in a sexually provocative manner; and several at the YMCA where he supervised a day camp. On their first date, he took her to see a Meg Ryan movie, When a Man Loves a Woman. Kari's funeral is set for Thursday at 2 p.m. at First Baptist Church in Madill and burial at Shay Cemetery. See Photos. Johnston turned to Matt Cawthon, an old friend who was a member of the Texas Rangers - the statewide law enforcement team. Thompsonville, Michigan. Lora Wilson was a freshman at Baylor University along with Matt Baker in the early 1990s. An autopsy had finally been performed on Kari’s body—the justice of the peace who had originally ruled Kari’s death a suicide had second thoughts and ordered her body exhumed—but it showed very little. Instead of reading him Bible verses, she threw her arms around him and said, “God will always love you—always.” Years later, after her death, the young man wrote her mother and told her that he believed Kari had saved his life.
Investigator John Bennett adds "It seemed like every expert we talked to told us that it could not happen the way Matt Baker said it had.". Her sister and mom were tagging along. The girl dropped out of school and moved away. Johnston felt that police dropped the ball, but he was hamstrung. And despite the fact that her father had moved on to another church, she still periodically attended Crossroads Baptist. But I talked to a lot of friends," Matt says. What was even stranger was that the labels from Matt’s original computer had been removed and put on the secretary’s computer to make it look as if it belonged to Matt. She said she thought that Matt was planning to kill her. Matt Baker said she was depressed over their 16-month-old daughter's cancer death in 1999.
He didn’t seem interested in their marriage anymore, she said. Obviously, Linda concluded, she was going to see Matt. April 6, 2009 -- Matt Baker, a former pastor and family man, was indicted last week for the murder of his wife Kari Baker three years ago. When I asked about a report that he had been looking at engagement rings with Bulls just weeks after Kari’s death, he explained that they had gone to a jewelry store only to buy earrings for one of his daughters.
What really turned Kari Baker's family against Matt Baker was the revelation that he had given Kari's cell phone to a young woman from his church who he called every day. “I feel like I am just about to die,” she wrote. She had a wonderful smile, great personality. She noticed that he had been calling a certain number over and over since early January. He added that when they got home from the YMCA, she was feeling ill. She even went to the bathroom to throw up. Yet what is perhaps most amazing of all is that Matt still doesn’t flinch.
Now, adults and children alike struggle to understand. She said she was convinced that Matt was having an affair. She has a Master of Arts degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from George Fox University. Still, Kari added, things weren’t great at home. In addition she has advance post graduate training in Emotion Focused Therapy (EFT), specializing in work with couples. Wouldn’t she have taken all the pills, to make sure she would die? He was a devout Baptist almost from the day he was born. They had, for instance, heard him talk nostalgically in his sermons about his childhood in Kerrville. “I’ll never forget one Sunday morning in church, she leaned back over the pew to grab my hand to say hello, and she mistakenly grabbed the foot of some man who was wearing flip-flops. Kari is a Licensed Professional Counselor. There was never any relationship at all other than a friendship.".
The strapping, six-foot-four-inch Johnston is a maverick in Waco legal circles. Studying the photos the police had taken of Kari on the night of her death, he noticed significant bruising around her lips. I was Kari’s protector. The director had received written statements from four young female employees, all of whom claimed Matt had sexually propositioned them. Their daughters, Kensi, 9, and Grace, 5, were asleep in nearby bedrooms. “Ask any question you want,” he said. “Or maybe he decided to kill Kari because she had found out about his other life and he was afraid she was going to expose him. "I think it's horrible. You have to understand that we had never had a cross word with him in eleven years—not one.
And there are other troubling details about what Baker told police and ABC News about the events leading up to that night. "It went really well.". Tishomingo Shockers coach and Middle School principal Charles Hook says it was Kelli, who just finished 6th grade this year, who was on his 12-and-under team. (“I’m horny, and I want to have sex with you now,” the counselor said Matt told her.) “Absolutely not. In truth, the lawsuit was thin: Johnston had little evidence to indicate that Matt had murdered Kari. On the bedside table they saw a bottle of Unisom, a nonprescription sleeping medication, with only 2 pills left in the 32-pill bottle. Kari was animated, and afterward one teacher said she seemed “elated” by the idea of taking a new job that fall. Bevel pointed to other red flags, like the locked bedroom door and the typed suicide note, which are rare in suicide cases. If you are an existing subscriber and haven't set up an account, please register for an online account. “I said, ‘Kari, be real. He then noticed that someone on that computer had gone to several Web sites, such as Secure RX Cart, that allow a user to purchase medication and have it shipped straight to his home. Unlike some denominations, Baptist churches have no defined hierarchies and operate independently of one another. "We became convinced that he done it," Johnston tells Moriarty. Within weeks, a fundraiser for Matt had been organized in Kerrville among friends of the family. Don't have an account? Something was going on with him, she kept saying. Still, I couldn’t stop staring at his face. "I met her at the Boys and Girls Club last year and we became really good friends," says Kari's friend Bethany Coleman. Matt, Kari, and their daughters were seen late that afternoon at the YMCA, where Kensi had swim practice. “Death could not control her at all.”, Sitting in a pew, Linda and Jim Dulin wept. Troopers say the Bakers were driving from their hotel when at an intersection, they turned into the path of a semi. To be honest with you, there’s no evidence that suggests there was any foul play at all. A young woman named Lora Wilson had driven up from Houston and met with a detective, telling him that she wanted to file charges against Matt for attempted sexual assault, which she claimed happened six years earlier in the locker room at Floyd Casey Stadium.
"I believe you are capable of much more evil.". ", 24/7 coverage of breaking news and live events. Whenever he preached, I felt like he was preaching directly to me. He used a screwdriver to open the door, and that’s when he found her, not breathing, just like he had found Kassidy. "The next step," Cawthon says, "was to obtain records from telephones. Plus, stream all your favorite CBS shows live, next day, or on demand anytime, anywhere. Lanham also said Kari Baker was excited for her future. I glanced over at his lawyer, Guy James Gray, a longtime district attorney from Jasper, who, before moving to Kerrville, gained national fame for prosecuting the James Byrd dragging case. MORE ON CRIMESIDERJanuary 22, 2010 - Will Preacher Matt Baker Get Life for Killing Wife? And if they do get an indictment, it’s doubtful they’ll be able to find an impartial jury in Waco, given all the publicity. Still, Johnston knew he had a long way to go before he could get Matt arrested for murder. The book explores Baker’s double life, examines the physical evidence against him, and includes 80 interviews with police, attorneys from both sides, family, friends, church and community members.
He didn’t need to. And there’s no physical evidence that suggests she was smothered with a pillow or anything else. She said all of them had heard stories about his sexual indiscretions. During all the times she struggled, I was there for her, telling her that we could get through this.”, He turned his gaze from me, and he looked blankly at a wall. In her most explosive accusation, Linda says that in the months just before Kari’s death, Matt had set his sights on a new target: a 24-year-old single mother who attended his church and who happened to be the daughter of a minister of music who had once worked at Crossroads Baptist. , Baker was convicted of murder and, in January 2010, was given a 65-year sentence for killing his wife and covering up her murder. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart,” he said. She had two daughters, Kensi and Grace, and loved her job at Spring Valley Elementary School. Enter your email below to send a password reset email. Any other type of records that we might need.". Nor did First Baptist officials notify the Baptist General Convention of Texas, the organization that coordinates the activities of most of the state’s Baptist churches. On Friday, Matt Baker's mother told ABC News that the family would fight the charges. Since then, he has done mostly civil litigation. But in the early nineties, after he claimed he had evidence suggesting that the FBI had lied about its actions during the siege on the Branch Davidian compound, he found himself in a high-stakes political showdown with the Justice Department, which eventually charged him with obstruction of justice for not producing all of his notes about the matter. He simply typed on her death certificate “Overdose of Unisom Sleep-Aid.”, Less than a week after the funeral, Matt Baker returned to Crossroads Baptist, as he had promised, to preach the Easter sermon. Bodycam footage released in police shooting of Walter Wallace, Jr. Did a love triangle ultimatum lead to murder? Matt nodded his head solemnly and told me the story of Joseph, from the Old Testament, who was betrayed by members of his family and then falsely imprisoned. The Pastor who led the service, a lecturer in the religion department at Baylor University named Steve Sadler, read verses of Scripture about God’s unfailing love that he had found underlined in Kari’s Bible. There are no rules, for example, requiring a church to inform the convention’s leaders that one of its pastors has been accused of misconduct. The pathologist noted that Kari’s muscle tissues contained traces of the drugs that make up both Unisom and Ambien. Jesus takes us into his family.”.
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