Killer Pardoned by Governor Sentenced Again in Same Crime

Patrick Baker gets 42 years
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 26, 2021 11:30 AM CDT
Updated Jan 19, 2022 1:45 AM CST
He Was Pardoned for Killing, but Just Got Convicted Again
In this Dec. 17, 2019 photo, Patrick Baker, right, who was recently pardoned by then-Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin, listens to attorney Elliot Slosar speak during a press conference in Lexington.   (Sam Upshaw Jr./Courier Journal via AP, File)

(Newser) Update: The man pardoned by Kentucky's former governor for a 2014 murder is going back to prison for 42 years for the same murder. Patrick Baker, who was prosecuted the second time in federal court under the "dual sovereignty doctrine" since his first conviction was in state court, was sentenced Tuesday. The 43-year-old had faced a maximum of life behind bars. He'll be credited 30 months for time served on the prior conviction, the AP reports. Our original story from Aug. 26, 2021, follows:

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 Republican governor. A federal jury in eastern Kentucky convicted Baker Wednesday on a charge of murder committed during a drug trafficking crime, the AP reports. Prosecutors said Baker killed Donald Mills, a drug dealer in Knox County, in 2014 while trying to rob Mills of cash and pain pills. Baker posed as a US Marshal during the crime.

US District Judge Claria Horn Boom will sentence Baker, 43, on Dec. 21. Prosecutors declined to seek the death penalty, but Baker could serve life in prison on the conviction. Baker was convicted of reckless homicide 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. Baker’s lawyer, Louisville attorney Steve Romines, said he would appeal.

(Read more Kentucky stories.)

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