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State v. Baker

Superior Court of Delaware, Kent

November 19, 2018

STATE OF DELAWARE
v.
JAMIE L. BAKER, Defendant.

          RK14-03-0312-01 Murder 2nd (F)

         Upon Defendant's Motion for Postconviction Relief Pursuant to Superior Court Criminal Rule 61

          Jason C. Cohee, Esquire and Nicole S. Hartman Esquire, Deputies Attorney General, Department of Justice, for the State of Delaware.

          Jamie L. Baker, Pro se.

          COMMISSIONER'S REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          FREUD, COMMISSIONER

         The defendant, Jamie L. Baker ("Baker"), pled guilty on February 6, 2017 to one count of Murder in the Second Degree, as a lesser included offense of Murder in the First Degree, 11 Del. C. § 635. In exchange for her plea the State entered nolle prosequis on the remaining counts including one additional count of Murder in the First Degree, one count of Possession of a Deadly Weapon During the Commission of a Felony, and one count of Adulteration. Due to the nature of the charges Baker faced mandatory life in prison had she been convicted of the two lead charges of First Degree Murder. A presentence office investigation was ordered and both the State and defense presented detailed evidence. At the sentencing on March 30, 2017 Baker took full responsibility for her action and asked for forgiveness.[1] The Court sentenced Baker to a total of fifty years incarceration suspended after forty years for probation, fifteen of which were minimum mandatory. On June 7, 2017, through counsel, Baker filed a motion to extend the filing of a Motion for Sentence Reduction which this Court denied. Baker did not appeal her conviction or sentence to the Delaware Supreme Court. She filed, pro se, the pending motion for postconviction pursuant to Superior Court Criminal Rule 61 on February 20, 2018 alleging, in part, ineffective assistance of counsel. She also requested the appointment of counsel. This court denied that request pursuant to Superior Court Criminal Rule 61(e)(2).

         FACTS

         The charges stemmed from Baker poisoning her husband, James Baker, by injecting antifreeze in to his bottles of liquid steroids which he used to aid his body building. Mr. Baker was found dead in his home on September 16, 2013. An investigation ensued and the bottles of steroids were seized by the police. The autopsy listed Mr. Baker's cause of death as Ethylene Glycol (a compound found in antifreeze) poisoning. Antifreeze was also discovered in the seized bottles of steroids. On March 19, 2014 in a post Miranda statement, Baker admitted that she had injected antifreeze into her husband's steroids in August 2013. Additionally at the sentencing a letter written by the Baker's young daughter was read into the record. In the letter the child who was eleven years-old at the time of her father's murder explained to the Court the events of the day before his death. She stated that her father was extremely ill and speaking incoherently but that her mother mocked him and refused her children's pleas to call 911.[2]

         BAKER'S CONTENTIONS

         In her motion, Baker raises the following grounds for relief:

Ground one: Ineffective counsel.
Was ledi (sic) to take a Murder 2nd plea by councel (sic) when expert evidence and autopys (sic), toxicology evidence showed clearly that I was innocent of poisoning James Dana Baker II. My husband did not die with toxic poisons in his system but died due to an enlarged heart twice the average size of a male due to 20 years of steroid use. Councelors (sic) Suzanne Macpherson-Johnson and Jaime Walker said the truth did not matter that that was the justice system. My defence councel (sic) repeatedly missed councel (sic) sessions, withheld mishandled evidence from the Forensic lab & did not receive all discovery from prosecution by the state at designated time. I am still missing discovery to date. My councel (sic) refused to speak with me, correspond with me or review important PSI report. They also cancelled important key experts witnesses for my defense which included a domestic violence expert & steroid expert. I vow those are true facts of my case. My councel (sic) told me to take a plea even though evidence proved me innocent of Murder in the 2nd.
Ground two: Coerced Confession & misconduct by police officers.
On March 13, 20141 was blocked into my garage by Sgt David Weaver and detective Scott Horseman. They did not read me my rights. They aggressively interrigated (sic) me while I was under the influence of a controlled substance. They said they were there to help me. Sgt Weave (sic) asked me for a hug. Could he hug me. So did detective Horseman. They both hugged me in my garage. This is inappropriate touching & behavior for police officers. This incident is recorded by detective Horseman. Sgt. Weaver then put me in the front seat of his car and inappropriately touched me again on my arm. I was in hysterics. At troop 3 in Camden Wyoming, Delaware I asked For a lawyer. I did not receive one for five days. I was ignored. I asked for a phone call. They ignored me. Sgt. Weaver gave my keys to my home to my in laws and allowed them them (sic) to ...

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