A man facing a federal murder charge after being pardoned on a state homicide conviction must stay in jail until his trial, a judge ruled Thursday.
A magistrate judge had said in early June that Patrick Baker could be released on bond pending trial, under conditions that included home incarceration with electronic monitoring.
However, the magistrate judge put that decision on hold because of an objection from the federal prosecutor, and Thursday, U.S. District Judge Claria Horn Boom revoked the earlier order.
Boom ruled that there was no set of conditions the court could impose to reasonably assure the safety of the public if Baker was released.
She pointed to testimony from Dawn Turner, Baker’s former fiancee, that they abused oxycodone daily during much of the time when Baker was out of jail on bond between 2014 and 2017 while awaiting trial in his original state case.
That testimony was not available when U.S. Magistrate Judge Hanly Ingram earlier decided to set conditions for Baker’s release.
Boom called the new evidence from Turner “pivotal” in her decision to detain Baker until his trial.
“The Court must acknowledge the risk that (Baker) would again violate the terms of his release, abuse controlled substances, and possibly commit additional dangerous crimes,” Boom said in her order.
Boom also noted that Baker concealed the drug use Turner testified about, telling a federal probation officer in June that he had been drug free since 2014.
The violation of his pretrial release in the earlier case by using drugs is a “strong predictor” that Baker would violate bond conditions if released in the current federal case, Boom said.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jenna Reed had argued that Baker would pose a danger to the community if released, though defense attorneys disputed that.
Baker, 43, was convicted of reckless homicide in the death of a Knox County drug dealer shot twice in the chest as two men tried to rob him of money and pain pills.
A judge sentenced him to 19 years in prison in December 2017, but just two years later, then-Gov. Matt Bevin commuted Baker’s sentence and pardoned him.
Many of the hundreds of commutations and pardons Bevin granted in his final days in office were controversial, but Baker’s drew particular attention because members of his family had held a fundraiser for Bevin in 2018.
Bevin has denied that political donations played any role in the pardon, but Turner told the FBI she thought the event was crucial in winning release for Baker.
A federal grand jury indicted Baker on a new charge of killing Donald Mills during the commission of a drug offense. Baker has been in jail since being arrested May 30.
Baker has strongly maintained his innocence.