Baker pleads not guilty to murder charge

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Janie Slaven, Commonwealth Journal, Somerset, Ky.
·2 min read
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May 3—The man accused of fatally shooting his father's friend when he tried to intervene in a family argument has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him.

Samuel Lee Baker, 22, of Bowling Green, is charged with Murder, first-degree Burglary, Convicted Felon in Possession of a Handgun and second-degree Persistent Felony Offender as part of the indictment filed last month.

Baker pleaded not guilty when arraigned on April 22 in Pulaski Circuit Court.

Baker is also charged with second-degree Fleeing and Evading Police (Motor Vehicle), second-degree Fleeing and Evading Police (On Foot), Reckless Driving, Possession of Marijuana, Suspended License, No Insurance, and Resisting Arrest in Casey County, where he was ultimately arrested following the March 18 shooting.

He has also pleaded not guilty to those charges and is expected to appear in Casey District Court next Wednesday for a pretrial conference.

The incident, according to the Pulaski County Sheriff's Office, began the night of March 18 when Ronald Baker called Pulaski County 911 saying that his son had shot Robert Claunch, 62, of Nancy, at the senior Baker's home on Faubush-Norfleet Road in Nancy.

Deputies responding to the scene determined that the father had tried to make his son leave shortly after he arrived at the residence. Ronald Baker, according to the sheriff's release, went into his bedroom in hopes that Samuel Baker would leave. He reported Claunch told the younger Baker to leave as his father asked.

Ronald Baker, according to the sheriff's release, then heard gunshots and returned to the kitchen where he found Claunch on the floor. Samuel Baker had left the scene in a vehicle his father could only describe as loud.

Claunch was pronounced dead at the scene by the Pulaski County Coroner's Office.

A warrant was obtained for Samuel Baker for Claunch's murder, and a search for him got underway.

Samuel Baker was located in Casey County by a deputy with the Casey County Sheriff's Office who got into a pursuit of the vehicle the suspect was driving.

Samuel Baker, according to Pulaski Sheriff Greg Speck, abandoned the car and fled on foot armed with a handgun with the Casey County deputy in pursuit. The deputy was able to catch him about 300 yards into the woods and place the younger Baker under arrest, Speck said.

The handgun was located in the vicinity of the arrest.

Samuel Baker was transported to the Casey County Detention Center, where he was lodged until transferred to Pulaski County Detention Center on April 14. He remains lodged at PCDC in lieu of a $500,000 cash/property bond.

Baker is next scheduled to appear in Pulaski Circuit Court for a pretrial conference on June 24.