Baker’s co-workers testify at trial


By Meladi Brewer


DARKE COUNTY — Baker’s coworkers take stand during trial. Judge Douglas M. Rastatter presided.

William Bannon testified he worked with both the victim, Corey Fleming, and Dean Baker within his nine years with the company. He testified that even though he did not see Baker and the victim outside of work, they were best friends inside the facility.

Bannon is an outside maintenance worker. He would weed eat, mow, take out trash, clean trucks, and more. He had worked together with Baker to complete outside maintenance around the plant.

“We generally work from 5:30 a.m. until 4 p.m.. The hours of the company- we start at 6 o’clock and work up to 4,” Bannon said.

He testified the only time anyone would be there at night was if they were on call for checks. Checks ran from 8:30 p.m. until 10:30 – 11 p.m. at the latest and would consist of checking water, air, and feed. Other than that, no one is typically at the residence in the middle of the night.

On Aug. 16, 2022, Bannon was at work weed eating, and as he approached the barn where the victim had been buried, Baker asked Bannon if he could help saying “let me do that for you.”

“He’s never asked me to do that before. He has never come up and said let me weed eat for you or anything like that. He’s not overly helpful,” Bannon said.

It was testified Baker weed eated from the point of contact to the barn before giving it back to Bannon so Bannon could finish weed eating the rest of the property, as Baker had only done a section.

Bannon was able to identify the gray barn surveillance video showed Baker entering and exiting with the evidence that had been found. It was testified the barn was used for storage, and a general manager from the facility also testified this is what the barn was used for. Anything of use was mainly found in the front with little to no need to walk into the back where the victim’s body had been stored for a period of time.

“There’s really no reason to go in there unless you were an outside person, and I had only been in there myself a small handful of times. There’s never really a reason to go in there,” Bannon said.

James Fletcher, previous owner of the house right outside the facility and husband of the female suspect, testified he was also the production supervisor for eight years and had worked for the business for 19 years. The female suspect was seen on video surveillance with Baker during the time the victim had been brought onto the premises. They could be seen going in and out of the barns together.

“There is no reason she would be there. She is not allowed in the barn,” Fletcher said.

On Aug. 20, 2022, the Darke County Sheriff showed up at Fletcher’s place of employment to conduct a search warrant. He was unaware of the reasoning until he was informed of the situation at hand, and upon learning the sheriff deputies were looking for Fleming’s body, he proceeded to communicate with the female subject.

“I was trying to inform her of what was going on, that Mr. Baker wasn’t who he said he was, and for her to keep my kids away from him,” Fletcher said.

Fletcher testified he was trying to get his kids from her, and when they met halfway to exchange children that afternoon, he said she was “crying and seemed distraught.” He was unsure of the reason she wanted to meet halfway to drop off the kids.

“I’m not sure. I don’t think she wanted to come to the house because of all the cops and what was going on down there,” Fletcher said.

It had previously been reported that Baker and the female suspect were located in Florida after the incident took place. On a previous court date in September 2022, State Prosecutor Deborah Quigley advised the court that “they both (Baker and the female subject) fled jurisdiction in an attempt to avoid apprehension” by putting fictitious plates onto a vehicle.

Fletcher testified he got along great with the victim having known him from work. Being familiar with the victim and Baker’s relationship, Fletcher confirmed previous testimonies that they were best friends.

“It’s my understanding they were best friends,” Fletcher said. “I didn’t see them outside of work, but they were always talking about working on cars together.”

Both Fletcher and Bannon testified they had nothing to do with the burying of the victim and that they would not have done anything to harm Fleming. Defense Attorney Patrick Mulligan did not have any questions for the witnesses at this time.

Watch for continual coverage of this trial.

No posts to display