Baker disciplined in jail for 'obscene sexual hand gestures'

By Tommy Witherspoon

Tribune-Herald staff writer

Waco Tribune-Herald

March 11 , 2010

Matt Baker, convicted of killing his wife, has been disciplined for inappropriate behavior in jail. (Duane A. Laverty/Tribune-Herald file)

Former minister Matt Baker was disciplined last month at the McLennan County Jail for “making obscene sexual hand gestures” toward two female jail inmates, according to jail records.

The disciplinary action came 12 days after Baker was convicted of killing his wife.

His trial revealed he had an affair and made unwanted sexual advances toward at least four other women.

Baker, 38, waived a jail disciplinary hearing and accepted the loss of all his county jail privileges for a week in early February as a result of his conduct, according to jail records obtained by the Tribune-Herald under the Texas Public Information Act.

Baker was sentenced to 65 years in prison Jan. 21 for the April 2006 drugging and suffocation death of his 31-year-old wife, Kari, the mother of his two daughters.

He has filed a motion for a new trial, and Judge Ralph Strother, of Waco’s 19th State District Court, has scheduled an April 1 hearing to consider the request.

Baker’s appellate lawyer, Stan Schwieger, declined comment on Baker’s jail disciplinary problems.

According to jail records, Baker was being held alone in a medical segregation cell, which features a solid metal door with a 4-inch-by-12-inch window.

Jail officials housed Baker there with orders to check on him every 15 minutes for his own safety, records indicate.

Two female inmates alerted jailers that Baker made what the reports describe as an “obscene sexual hand gesture” toward them both as they walked down the hallway for dental appointments Feb. 2.

The report cites Baker for disorderly conduct, making sexual advances and creating a disruption.

The report also said Baker agreed to the loss of privileges for a week, including no phone, visitation or commissary privileges.

Sheriff Larry Lynch was asked about the reported incident in mid-February.

The sheriff said then that his department had no records to reflect reports of Baker’s behavior. The Tribune-Herald obtained copies of the reports only after filing an open records request.

Lynch did not return phone calls Tuesday or Wednesday to the Tribune-Herald, which was seeking an explanation for the discrepancy.

Linda and James Dulin, Kari Baker’s parents, are locked in a custody dispute with Baker’s parents, Oscar and Barbara Baker, to determine where Baker’s daughters will live.

“This type of behavior only confirms what prosecutors Crawford Long and Susan Shafer demonstrated in court — Matt Baker is a sexual predator, as well as a murderer,” Linda Dulin said Wednesday. “For whatever reason, his behavior is becoming more and more bizarre and unsettling.

“I am just relieved that Matt will not be able to hurt anyone else. My husband and I now want to turn our focus to our granddaughters and helping them heal.”

Shafer declined comment about Baker’s actions in jail.

Trial testimony revealed that Baker was having an affair with a member of his church shortly before and shortly after his wife died.

Baker tried to make her death appear to be a suicide by sleeping pill overdose and told authorities that she was depressed.

The Dulins persuaded authorities to reopen the investigation, which led to Baker’s arrest in Kerrville, where he and his daughters had been living since shortly after Kari Baker’s death.

Trial testimony also revealed that Matt Baker, a Truett Seminary graduate, attempted to sexually assault another Baylor student 18 years ago while they were working as student trainers at Floyd Casey Stadium.

He also made improper advances toward a friend of his wife’s cousin while his daughter lay critically ill in a Dallas hospital.

Baker also frequently surfed pornographic Web sites on a church-owned laptop computer.