Island County Superior Court judge rejects another delay in alleged murderer’s trial

Robert “Al” Baker, left, will go to trial Aug. 13 in Island County Superior Court. He is accused of killing his wife, possibly for another woman, according to court documents. - Jessie Stensland / Whidbey News-Times
Robert “Al” Baker, left, will go to trial Aug. 13 in Island County Superior Court. He is accused of killing his wife, possibly for another woman, according to court documents.
— image credit: Jessie Stensland / Whidbey News-Times

The pizza man and Antarctic scientist accused of killing his wife in Greenbank last year will go to trial Aug. 13.

Robert “Al” Baker, a 62-year-old Greenbank resident, is facing one count of first-degree murder in the death of Kathie Baker.

Tom Pacher, the attorney representing Baker, asked Judge Alan Hancock during a hearing in Island County Superior Court Monday to once again delay the trial, suggesting a date in October.

Pacher is currently representing Joshua Lambert in a double-murder and kidnapping trial that began two weeks ago and wrapped up this week. He said he’s had serious health issues lately and requested a couple extra months to prepare for the Baker trial.

“I feel I could do a better job on his behalf if we had more time,” he said.

Senior Deputy Prosecutor Eric Ohme, who’s handling the Baker case, told the judge that he’s ready for trial and sent out subpoenas, but that he understood Pacher’s concerns.

Hancock ruled that Pacher’s explanation for seeking a continuance isn’t good enough, which means trial will continue as scheduled, with jury selection beginning Aug. 13.

The trial was rescheduled three times already. The last time, Ohme asked for the trial to be moved forward a month so that it didn’t overlap with the Lambert trial.

Baker, who’s being held in the county jail, appeared at the brief hearing Monday.

Baker and his wife owned Harbor Pizzeria in Freeland. They met at a scientific research station in Antarctica, where they both had worked for Raytheon Corporation.

Kathie Baker was last seen alive June 2, 2012. Deputies with the Island County Sheriff’s Office started investigating her disappearance after Kathie’s boss at Raytheon Corporation in Denver reported that he couldn’t get hold of her.

After finding bloody drag marks in the house and getting contradictory stories from Baker about his wife’s whereabouts, detectives obtained a search warrant for the home, according to court documents.

Baker was arrested June 9, 2012.

Investigators found Kathie’s tarp-wrapped body in a ravine behind their home. Her cause of death was determined to be blunt force trauma to the head and ligature strangulation, according to the county coroner. Investigators found a ball-peen hammer with hair stuck to it in a garbage can in the garage, court documents indicate.

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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