By Meladi Brewer
DARKE COUNTY — Witnesses continue to testify on day three of the Baker Trial. Judge Douglas M. Rastatter presided.
“Corey (the victim) was sweet, funny, and he’d give the shirt off his back for anybody,” the victim’s girlfriend testified.
She advised the court that she had known the victim for over five years, they share a child together, and he would not go anywhere without his backpack. On the day of the alleged murder, they had been at her mother’s house.
She testified the victim had done meth in the woods behind the house before leaving with Dean M. Baker, 36, of Greenville, the suspect, in an Escalade. The victim was said to appear sad and down when on meth by the girlfriend – not violent. State Prosecutor Deborah Quigley asked the girlfriend if the victim had been drinking when they were together.
“No. He only drank a fancy wine once, but it was a long time ago,” the girlfriend said. “He’s not much of a drinker to be honest.”
Earlier, Quigley’s opening statements remarked the victim had been found to have both high levels of meth and alcohol in his system. It was also testified that the backpack previously mentioned was also found in the crawl space of a residence.
The backpack consisted of an upside down star symbol on the front. The girlfriend advised the defense attorney Partrick Mulligan that the victim did not worship satan, and she did not know if the deceased was using meth as a way to self-medicate for depression. She advised that she could not speak on how the drug made him feel, but could say that he was sad.
“He was sad all the time. Not all the time, but his sadness would pop up here and there,” the girlfriend said.
When the victim left the witness’s mom’s house, she attempted to contact him via texts and calls. She became emotional after advising that she never got a response, thus having no knowledge of what exactly occurred between Baker and the victim once they left the residence. After receiving no reply from the victim, she testified she tried to track him down.
“I went once. Once I did, and he (Baker) said he wasn’t there,” the girlfriend said.
Captain Shawn Trissel with the Darke County Sheriff’s Department later testified to the events after the victim left the girlfriend’s mother’s house. After the department received the anonymous tip about Baker and the missing person announcement went out on the victim, officers started looking for evidence.
During the investigation, Capt. Trissel testified they found the two totes and white five gallon bucket Baker was said to have at his grandmother’s house. One tote was covered in a trash bag and the other had trash bags inside. After opening numerous layers of trash bags, it was noted flies were heavily apparent and the smell of decomposition could be observed.
“We got two of three layers open and we started seeing the remnants of dried maggots. We collected those, went down a little further and found some live maggots, and finally we got to the last trashbag and observed a clear plastic that was inside,” Capt. Trissel said.
Inside the trash bag were orange ratchet straps, clear plastic with dirt debris, a piece of cardboard with a reddish tint stain, and an “extremely soaked shirt” among other miscellaneous items, and Capt. Trissel testified that “everything was wet with fluid from decomposition”.
An investigation was also conducted at Baker’s place of employment. While searching the area, officers observed fresh dirt that had been turned up, packed and laying on the ground.
“As we were looking at this, we observed a black latex glove that was laying right at the edge of the gravel in the grass,” Capt. Trissel said.
The dirt was then probed, and after a few pokes into the ground, officers could smell decomposition. When they later dug in the dirt, they found the victim in the shallow grave. Video surveillance showed Baker moving pallets between a gray and white barn on the property with a truck and a skid loader.
While searching the buildings, blood was found on numerous tools, pallets, and all over the floor including a bloody footprint that matched the tread on Baker’s boots. In the video, the truck bead could be seen carrying a skid, trashbags, ratchet straps, two by four, basement jack, a white piece of metal siding, and another tan object.
“He grabbed a small skid out of the shop and laid it out on the back of the truck. You can see the skid laying here where he propped it up blocking the view of that tan object we believe had the body underneath,” Capt. Trissel said.
They found both a skid and a white piece of metal siding in the barns, covered in blood. Officers observed an area in the barn that had been swept that looked out of place with spots of dried blood on it.
“There were brush marks in the area, and it appeared that they took concrete trying to cover over top of and try to hide this area. They took a broom and brushed a material over the bodily fluids,” Capt. Trissel said.
Between two buildings, officers were able to locate what they believed to be the debris swept from the barn – in it were the victim’s rings and even a fingernail.
“As we started to collect those (rings), we noticed a finger nail right here with skin still attached wrapped up in this area,” Capt. Trissel said.
Substantial evidence of bodily fluids, shoe prints, and objects seen in the video were collected as evidence within the place of work. Officers also were granted permission to search Baker’s residence where they found a jacket in the dryer they believe is the jacket the male subject could be seen in surveillance videos.
“I did observe some areas on the kitchen chair that had some spots of the reddish brown substance. We collected them, and I did look under the kitchen table and observed what looked like two bloody handprints underneath the table along with what looked like two bloody blobs of substance,” Capt. Trissel said.
From there, they searched the garage and found a ball of hair attached to a roll of red tape. The red tape at the residence matched the tape found on the bags collected. Mulligan did not have any cross examination questions for Capt. Trissel.
The jury will be partaking in a Jury View for onsite observances Monday morning before heading to the courthouse for further testimonies.