Pardoned Kentucky man faces new federal charges in slaying

·1 min read

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — A Kentucky man convicted of reckless homicide in a 2014 home invasion and then pardoned two years later by then-Gov. Matt Bevin has been arrested on federal charges in connection to the same crime, according to court records unsealed Tuesday.

Patrick Baker is charged with murder committed during a robbery and kidnapping related to drug trafficking, the records show.

Baker was scheduled to make an initial court appearance Tuesday in London, Kentucky. He was arrested by U.S. Marshals and booked into the Laurel County Correctional Center on Monday.

If convicted on the new federal charges in the shooting death of Donald Mills, Baker could face the death penalty or a maximum sentence of life in prison, according to his indictment. In 2017, Baker was convicted of reckless homicide and other crimes in connection with Mills’ death and sentenced to 19 years in prison. Prosecutors said Baker posed as a law enforcement officer and killed Mills in his Knox County home.

His pardon was among hundreds Bevin issued in the time between his electoral defeat in November 2019 and his final day in office a month later. It drew widespread attention because Baker's relatives had held a fundraiser for the Republican governor in 2018.

After the pardon, Baker released a statement declaring his innocence and defending Bevins' decision to grant him clemency.

“I did not kill Donald Mills and my family did not pay for my release,” he said.

The Kentucky Court of Appeals reviewed Baker’s case and ruled unanimously that there was “overwhelming” evidence to convict him.

An attorney who previously represented Baker did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment Tuesday.

Bruce Schreiner, The Associated Press

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