Pardoned Killer Sentenced To 42 Years In Prison For Same Crime
A man who was pardoned for a drug robbery murder has been sentenced to 42 years in prison for the same crime after a new federal trial.
Patrick Baker, 43, had been serving a 19-and-a-half-year prison sentence for killing drug dealer Donald Mills in front of his pregnant wife and children as he attempted to rob him of cash and oxycodone pills.
However, in 2019, he was released from jail after being issued with a pardon by outgoing Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin, on the grounds that evidence against him was 'sketchy'.
Two years later, he was convicted once again following a federal trial on drug trafficking charges, with a judge sentencing him on Tuesday, January 18, to 42 years in prison, minus the 30 months he had served following his initial conviction.
The renewed charges came after it was alleged that Bevin had offered the pardon in exchange for a $21,500 donation raised by Baker's siblings at a fundraiser, the Louisville Courier-Journal reports.
The sentence is more than double that of his original prison term, and means Baker will be 83 before he is eligible for release from prison, with federal prisoners ineligible for parole.
During the trial, the court heard that Baker and an accomplice had posed as US Marshals when they broke into Mills' home, holding his wife and three children at gunpoint before shooting and killing Mills.
Judge Claria Horn Boom additionally found that Baker had obstructed justice by perjuring himself in court and by attempting to destroy the murder weapon.
Federal prosecutors had argued for a life sentence to be handed down to send a message against 'drug-related crime that is a cancer on this community', with Assistant US attorney Jenna Reed arguing that there was a 'price to pay for taking someone's life... and that price is a sentence of life'.
However, Boom declined, saying that though Baker had been prepared to kill Mills, he had not travelled to his house with the intention of doing so.
In a victim impact statement given during the sentencing hearing, Mills' sister Melinda said that her family was 'forever broken', telling Baker, 'May God have mercy on your soul. He is the final judge in the end.'
Baker is the second man pardoned by Bevin to be successfully prosecuted again in a federal court. His lawyer say he maintains his innocence and plans to appeal the verdict.
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