Sgt. Monnin disputes Baker’s self-defense claim


By Meladi Brewer


DARKE COUNTY — Sgt. Joseph Monnin testified against Baker’s self-defense claims. Judge Douglas M. Rastatter presided.

Sgt. Monnin advised the court that after Baker and the female suspect in Corey Fleming’s murder were found in Florida, he interrogated Baker for four hours there and for an hour and a half in Darke County. During which, he claims Baker only brought up self-defense when he asked Baker about it.

“I have already spoken to him (Aug. 31) for four to six hours, and at no point in time was self-defense ever brought up,” Sgt. Monnin said.

Prosecuting Attorney Deborah Quigley questioned Sgt. Monnin about talking to Baker on Aug, 18 at his house and at the station for a statement, again on Aug. 19, and in Florida about whether Baker had brought up by himself discussions of self-defense.

“No, self-defense was never brought up by him,” Sgt. Monnin said.

Patrick Mulligan, Baker’s defense attorney, brought up Baker’s female friend who tipped the police department off when she delivered the handwritten note to the station. He asked Sgt. Monnin to recall his discussions with her and if she ever brought up self-defense.

“I interviewed her on two separate occasions. I don’t believe on the very first day that she brought that up, but there is an interview where I do speak to her, and she does say something about self -defense,” Sgt. Monnin said.

Sgt. Monnin advised Mulligan and the court that he is unaware of how often the two communicated after his initial interview with Baker. Sgt. Monnin had interviewed Baker after receiving his statement that the victim was kicked out of the house to not be seen again. After Baker left the department, officers decided they needed more information from the female friend and decided to contact her. They are unaware if Baker had any contact with her in between that time.

“During her statement about self-defense, she said that Baker told her about Fleming bringing a gun. Baker specifically said to her that he knew the gun was not loaded. He knew the gun was not loaded at the time that he brought that gun in,” Sgt. Monnin said.

The jury was able to hear pieces of Sgt. Monnin’s interviews with Baker. Through Baker’s testimonies they were able to hear Sgt. Monnin asking Baker if he were capable of murder and pulling the trigger to which Baker responded “mmm… I’m more up close” and “I’m capable of planning.” When questioned further, Baker responds with maybe.

“He says look into it further. Maybe I did plan it,” Sgt. Monnin testified.

While questioning Baker, opportunities to speculate a motive were observed. Baker was making payments from a civil lawsuit that stemmed from the victim borrowing and wrecking Baker’s vehicle. The other driver sued Baker, and he was paying a $50,000 debt due to the victim. The victim was also not working at the time in order to pay Baker back, and he was living at Baker’s house in the garage.

“I’m his only friend, pretty much, so it gets me that he let me down because I don’t know. I feel I’m a motivator and give people a boost of energy,” Baker said.

Baker reported he had also been upset with the victim as he had allegedly caught him stealing from his family and lying to his face.

“He’s been lying to my face. That gets to me, but I’m not going to call him out. I ponder over it a little bit I guess,” Baker said.

Baker advised Sgt. Monnin that the victim had allegedly also “f***ed up his reputation” after he vouched for Fleming to get his job back. It was also reported that Baker had been frustrated due to a disagreement he had allegedly gotten in with his wife before she left the residence that evening.

“I think this was the same day that I had a lot built up in me- you know anger wise,” Baker said.

Sgt. Monnin testified Baker identified the stressors to him. He said Baker brought up financial disagreements between him and his wife, his wife’s youngest son had upset the female subject which in turn upset Baker allegedly causing another fight between Baker and his wife, and there were a few minor stressors.

Finding the victim doing meth in the garage was one of the final straws, and Baker also testified that he kicked the victim out without a physical altercation as he never got close to him.

“I’ve never hollered at Fleming, you know? He has never seen that part of me,” Baker said. “I didn’t want to hit him. He didn’t get that angry with me. I did all the yelling. It didn’t get physical.”

Baker consistently denied he ever knew Fleming had come into the kitchen. He denied any physical altercation saying the victim never followed him to the house after he allegedly told him to leave, and Baker testified Fleming never raised his voice to him. Baker said he did not know where the victim had been before the murder denying the victim ever came into the kitchen or got agitated.

“He never did that. There were just tears of sorrow. I’m just going to leave it at that,” Baker said.

Baker told Sgt. Monnin, in part of the interrogation, that he should look into the case more.

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