Trial of Freeland murder suspect delayed

Trial for a 62-year-old pizza man and Antarctic scientist accused of killing his wife was delayed again because of a conflict with another murder trial.

Island County Superior Court Judge Alan Hancock agreed to move the trial for Robert “Al” Baker to Aug. 13. Trial was originally scheduled for Feb. 25, then rescheduled to July 16.

Senior Deputy Prosecutor Eric Ohme asked to have the trial moved so it doesn’t overlap with the July 9 trial of Joshua Lambert, an Oak Harbor man accused of a double murder and kidnapping.

Ohme said the same support personnel will be working on both trials.

Baker faces one count of first-degree murder. He’s accused of killing Kathie Baker and dumping her tarp-wrapped body behind their Greenbank home, according to court documents.

Kathie Baker was last seen alive June 2, 2012.

Deputies with the Island County Sheriff’s Office started investigating her disappearance after her employer couldn’t get a hold of her.

Her cause of death was determined to be blunt force trauma to the head and ligature strangulation. Investigators found a ball-peen hammer with hair stuck to it in a garbage can in the garage.

A detective’s report on the case indicates that the motive for the alleged murder may have been another woman. Baker’s alleged mistress was staying with him at his Greenbank home soon after Kathie was murdered, court documents state.

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