Inquest into death of Terry Baker again postponed
The start date for an inquest into the 2016 death of Terry Baker, an inmate serving a life sentence for her role in the torture and murder of an Orangeville teen, has been pushed until early June.
The Ministry of Solicitor General announced in a press release on May 19 that a motion hearing related to the pending inquest into Baker’s death would be rescheduled for June 1. The motion hearing was scheduled to begin on Monday (May 23).
The coroner’s inquest into Baker’s death was initially set to begin in early April, with the inquest spanning two weeks and hearing from approximately 12 witnesses. A week before the coroner’s inquest was set to start, the Ministry of the Solicitor General announced that after hearing submission from the parties, the presiding officer had ruled the inquest be postponed.
Baker, who pleaded guilty to her part in the 2002 murder of 16-year-old Robbie McLennan, died at St. Mary’s General Hospital in Kitchener on July 6, 2016. She was transferred to the hospital from the Grand Valley Institution for Women after being found unresponsive in her cell.
The cause of Baker’s death has not been specified, but in a 2016 interview, Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies executive director Kim Pate said Baker was found with a ligature around her neck.
In 2017, a coroner’s inquest to examine the events surrounding Baker’s death was announced by then-regional supervising coroner for inquests, Dr. David Eden.
An inquest into Baker’s death is mandatory under the Coroners Act.
Dr. Eden will serve as the presiding officer for the inquest and the motion hearing. Sidney McLean and Kristin Smith will be inquest counsel.
The motion hearing will begin at 1 p.m. on June 1, with parties making their submissions remotely. Members of the public will be able to view the proceedings live online at https://firstclassfacilitation.ca/office-of-the-chief-coroner/motion-hearing-in-regards-to-the-pending-inquest-into-the-death-of-terry-baker/.
Baker, who was 16 years old at the time of McLennan’s murder in 2002, was convicted of first-degree murder in 2006 and handed a life sentence.
Baker’s then 20-year-old boyfriend, William Bronson Penasse, also pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in 2005 and was sentenced to life in prison without eligibility for parole until 2030. Another 16-year-old – who was never identified under the Youth Criminal Justice Act – was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to 18 months.
Paula Brown, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Shelburne Free Press