LONDON, Ky.: A man pardoned by Kentucky’s former governor for a 2014 drug robbery killing has been convicted for the same slaying in federal court after a two-week trial.
Federal prosecutors brought charges against Patrick Baker after he was released from prison when former Gov. Matt Bevin pardoned him on his way out of office in 2019. Baker’s family had political connections to Bevin, including hosting a fundraiser for the one-term governor.
A federal jury in eastern Kentucky returned a murder conviction against Baker, 43, on Wednesday, after several hours of deliberation, according to media reports.
U.S. District Judge Claria Horn Boom will sentence Baker on Dec. 21. Prosecutors declined to seek the death penalty.
Baker was convicted of reckless homicide in Donald Mills death in state court in 2017. He was sentenced to 19 years in prison, but Bevin’s pardon released him and erased the conviction.
Federal prosecutors said Baker was prosecuted the second time under the dual sovereignty doctrine, which allows state and federal officials to prosecute the same defendant for the same actions without infringing on double jeopardy protections.
Bakers lawyer, Louisville attorney Steve Romines, said he would appeal.
We felt there was evidence that should have been admitted that was not, he told the Courier Journal.
Prosecutors said Baker killed Mills, a drug dealer in Knox County, in 2014 while trying to rob Mills of cash and pain pills.
Baker’s release was one of a slew of pardons by Bevin that drew rebuke from both Democrats and Republicans.
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