Murder suspect enters day one of Trial


By Meladi Brewer

DARKE COUNTY — A Darke County murder suspect entered day one of jury trial Wednesday in Clark County Common Pleas Court. Judge Douglas M. Rastatter presided.

Dean M. Baker, 36, of Greenville, is on trial as a suspect in the homicide investigation of Corey Fleming who had been missing since Aug. 7. The body of Corey Fleming was discovered by investigators in a shallow grave at a commercial farm in Brown Township, Darke County, on Aug. 20.

The Darke County case was moved to Clark County after the court deemed the case unable to withstand a fair trial in the county after media posts went viral. Baker is on trial for a three count indictment: count one tampering with evidence, a felony of the third degree; count two murder with a gun specification, an unclassified felony; and count three abuse of a corpse, a felony of the fifth degree.

State Prosecutor Deborah Quigley opened by advising “opening statements are like a road map.” Opening statements are what the state believes the evidence and testimonies will show. Quigley advised the jury that opening statements are a way to tell them what the attorneys believe the facts will bring, as they are brought forth in court.

Defense attorney Patrick Mulligan agreed with Quigley saying opening statements are like a road map, and it is the juror’s responsibility to see if that road leads them to a conclusion that Baker, without a doubt, was proven by the state to knowingly commit the acts he is being charged with.

Quigley relayed the events leading up to and after the alleged murder. She talked about how when Baker’s wife would leave for work, he could be seen with another woman -addressed as his girlfriend and alleged accomplice. Jurors were also advised of a note he had allegedly written to his best friend explaining what had happened on the night Fleming had passed.

“He backed into the driveway and his friend saw him. She was not expecting him,” Quigley said.

Quigley said Baker’s female friend said she saw the defendant get a large, white five gallon bucket out of the back seat of an Escalade, put a floor mat on the ground, and set the bucket on top. Baker then proceeded to tell his friend he wanted to talk to her in private and asked for a paper and pen.

“It was strange, but our neighbors are kind of close to each other, and during the summer, windows are open and whether you’re sitting out front or sitting out back, neighbors can hear your conversation,” the female friend said.

It was said Baker and the friend sat down to talk like they usually do before he picked up the paper to write. When he finished with the paper, he handed it to the friend who read:

“10 days ago, I sacrificed my only male friend to Lucifer. I shot him in the kitchen. I had him wrapped for five days.”

He then proceeded to ask the friend if he could burn the things in the bucket in her fire pit and wrote a list of its contents. The friend testified Baker told her the victim had been in his kitchen pointing a gun at him saying ‘I know you had an affair with my girl, and I could kill you right here,’ and Baker told the friend he had assumed the gun was not loaded, so he took it away from the victim, loaded it, and “popped him between the eyes.”

“I went into shock. I went into a panic. I handed it (the note) back to him and asked ‘are you serious?’ and he said ‘yes’,” the female friend said.

She refused to let Baker burn the contents of the bucket listed on the paper: the victim’s bandana, ratchet straps, bloody plastic wrap, blanket, five days blood all mixed in with powder from mice bait. She told him to try taking it, and the two totes he also wanted to leave, to his grandmothers. Baker agreed and began to get nervous about the piece of paper.

The female friend said she just wanted Baker gone, so she took the note, ripped it up, and stuck it into a flower post saying it was taken care of. When Baker walked around to the bucket to leave, he loudly exclaimed “sure you can’t use any paint” before picking up the bucket and leaving.

The friend took the note to the Greenville Police Department where they began investigating the confession on the paper, and through the investigation, Quigley said they found the totes and a bucket at Baker’s grandmother’s house.

“They take the two totes, and once they open them, they see the maggots, the blood on the Saran Wrap… the smell of decomposing flesh, and they know something is going on,” Quigley said.

Detective Dale M. Dickmann II advised Baker had written a statement at the police department explaining he and the victim had gotten in a fight because he had caught the victim doing Meth in the garage. Baker had testified at the department that they had argued, he kicked the victim out, and the victim had left the residence to not be seen again.

Mulligan will testify that Baker will explain how he was defending himself during the incident. He said Baker will testify how the victim entered the house where he and his children were sleeping to confront him in the kitchen.

“He will testify that Fleming tried to fire the gun and it jammed allowing Baker time to essentially recover, and the evidence will show Fleming’s fingerprints were on the magazine of the gun that was used” Mulligan said.

This hard evidence will be presented by the coroner who will later testify Fleming was high on Meth and drunk as well. Quigley said Baker had come up with numerous stories during the investigation, but one thing remained the same.

“The one story he doesn’t seem to waiver from is he shot and killed the victim. One shot, to the face,” Quigley said.

Mulligan advised the jury that the bottom line is they are contesting the murder case, and at the conclusion of the facts, the defense will be asking for a verdict of not guilty to all of the components of the murder count.

To contact Daily Advocate Reporter Meladi Brewer, email [email protected].

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