The Death of Donald "Scotty" Baker

I had to ask myself today if when I started going through my list of names if it was my goal to find some of the most heinous or gruesome cases.  That is a bit difficult for me to do considering names just end up on a list for me to check later, often many months later.  However, my last blog involved the murder of Logan Marr, a five year old girl who died at the hands of her foster mother. That was a horrible crime, but does not hold a candle to the case you are about to hear.  Let us just say that I have read a lot of appeal papers in my day and this is the first that I recall in which the courts themselves in the appeal described a murder as "heinous" and "brutal."  It was almost as if you could feel the disdain jumping from the pages from the judges. This is a case that makes you question humanity.  For me, someone who reads and studies true crimes this says a lot. 

On November 25, 1992 a woman, who was obviously wearing a wig entered an elementary school in Manchester Kentucky.  She went inside and spoke with the secretary, Charlotte Smith, saying that she was there to pick up ten year old Donald "Scotty" Baker for the day and take him to see his father.  She claimed to be his father's cousin.  Smith apparently saw no issue in this and allowed this woman, who signed her name as "Patricia Smith" to take Scotty.  In reality Patricia Smith was Susanne Porter Baker. She was no relation to Scotty or his family but she was best friends with Scotty's 22 year old stepmother, Stephanie Baker. While Susanne was inside getting Scotty, Stephanie was outside in Susanne's car hiding in the backseat under some laundry.

Susanne brought and excited Scotty out, who thought he was going to see his dad, Donald, an over the road truck driver that he did not get to see as often as he liked, and they got into Susanne's car.  After a short distance and a turn onto a country road Stephanie came up from the back seat and began strangling Scotty.  As Stephanie continued to the point in which Scotty was dead Susanne kept driving until they reached an old abandoned mine area.  They dug a small shallow grave and decided they would burn his body but silly them had forgotten the gasoline. So the two women (and I struggle to use that term) got back in Susanne's car to go get some gasoline, but on the way they decided to stop at Stephanie's house.  While they were there Stephanie called her husband's phone and got his voice mail.  The message she left him was sappy and all about her day and how much she loved and missed him.  They then proceeded to get the gasoline and go back to the abandoned mine where they proceeded to set fire to Scotty's body and then bury him.  

That evening when Scotty failed to return home to his mother's she was understandably worried.  Ruth had been divorced from Donald Baker for about 3 years but they both seemed to have a great relationship with their son.  They both also knew however there were issues when it came to Stephanie, Donald's wife of only about nine months. When Ruth discovered that someone had gone to the school and picked up Scotty using the name Patricia Smith and claiming to be Donald's cousin she knew something was wrong and immediately called the police.  Due to the fact that this was a child and kidnapping was suspected the FBI was brought into the case rather quickly.  Ruth almost immediately suspected Stephanie as being involved and it did not take long for Donald to believe the same thing.

Donald and Stephanie had meet in August of 1991.  He was 37 and worked a lot, Stephanie was 22.  They were married on Valentine's Day 1992 but their relationship was always rocky it seems.  Stephanie did not like it that Donald was gone so much for work but she also did not like that when he was home and had his son he lavished him with attention.  It was said that he made clear from the beginning that when he had the opportunity to see his son he would. He would later say that when his son was with him and they would go to do things together Stephanie always refused to go.  Ruth would tell authorities that Scotty had never mentioned any mistreatment by Stephanie but it was more than obvious that she was jealous of his relationship with his dad.  Of course as in all cases, the family members were interviewed.  Stephanie claimed that she was with her friend Susanne all that day doing laundry, something Susanne verified, but that surely was not much of an alibi.  I can only assume that they were all also given lie detector tests to which despite proclaiming her innocence Stephanie failed, not once but twice.  It was then that the FBI decided to put pressure on Susanne who had been best friends with Stephanie since high school.  But first they had to find her again.  She had left Kentucky and gone to Florida but apparently not hard to find.  Once they sat down with Susanne once again and leaned harder on her she began to crack. She eventually took authorities to where his body lay.

Like most in her situation it seems that right up until the end (including through her trial and her appeal) Susanne attempted to down play the roll she played in Scotty's death.  First she attempted to say that she had no idea that Stephanie planned to kill Scotty or even harm him.  This rings untrue because why would she feel the need to disguise herself, give a false name or lie to the school to get him.  Secondly, while Stephanie was strangling the child she continued to drive and made no attempt to stop her.  She would later claim that once the deed was done she kept her mouth shut because she feared that Stephanie would put all the blame on her.  She was eventually convicted on charges of kidnapping, reckless homicide and abuse of a corpse.  She was sentenced to 25 years but in 2008 after serving 15 years she was released based on "good credit time" and returned to her home town of London Kentucky.  She was going by her maiden name of Susanne Porter at that time.  When she was released Ruth Baker was not short in expressing her feelings about it.  She obviously thought it was too soon and stated she hoped this followed Susanne wherever she went and when she walked down the street everyone would stare at her knowing what she had done to a child.  Good for Ruth!

Stephanie's goose was pretty much cooked.  Besides the information that Susanne had and would have likely been forced to testify at trial, Donald had also discovered Stephanie's diary in which she had written many things about Scotty in there wishing that he were dead and complaining of not being able to do as she pleased in her house.  Susanne was likely going to testify that after they burned his body Stephanie said "Now all my troubles are over." Prosecutors were prepared to argue one of two theories at trial.  The main theme was that Stephanie was flat out jealous of Scotty and the attention that Donald gave him.  One theory is that she simply did it for herself.  Just two days prior to the murder Stephanie had talked to Donald on the phone and he had told her that after Thanksgiving he had a run to Tennessee. She seemed very excited and wanted to travel with him.  Donald said he had told her that was fine but that Scotty would be joining them because he had already promised him he could go.  Donald would say he knew at that point Stephanie would not go because she never did anything with the two of them.  The second theory was based on the fact that Stephanie had recently discovered that she was pregnant and that she feared Scotty would take attention from her child.  I personally do not believe this latter theory.  I think anyone who is cold enough to do this to a child is in it only for themselves. I think she would have killed her own child if she thought it took attention away from her.  Apparently however, the prosecutors planned to seek the death penalty for her and she thought the best way to avoid that was to plead guilty to murder and kidnapping.  She received a life sentence for each charge and is not eligible for parole until she has served 25 years.  Her first chance at parole is in November of 2017.  Here is to hoping she is denied.  

Stephanie did give birth to her child while in prison and her parents subsequently adopted the child. Stephanie also apparently took her maiden name back after Donald obviously divorced her.  While I have printed Susanne's maiden name here I have decided not to post Stephanie's (although it is easy enough to find) simply because of the minor child that her parents adopted and presumably has their name.  Donald was quoted as saying that considering his occupation that Stephanie's parents were the best people to raise the child.  But in fairness I should add that by the time the child was 16 months old Donald had admitted to not seeing the child.  It sounds to me as if he obviously still had a lot to deal with emotionally that he may never be able to come to terms with. 

Donald and Ruth would file a civil suit against the Board of Education and certain individuals including Charlotte Smith, the secretary at Scotty's school. Much like the suit I read while researching my last case on Logan Marr's where her mother attempted to sue DFS and certain individuals, reading this case too was awful confusing.  This is often the case when a state funded or ran "corporation" or group is sued.  It appears, that although, there was a policy in place that was not followed and seemingly many excuses made as to why they were not that the case was dismissed.  I will say in defense of the Kentucky Board of Education however, they took this case seriously and ensured and enforced previous and new policies to prevent just anyone from going into a school and retrieving a child as was done here.

As I said in the beginning this case made me question humanity.  As a mother, a step-mother and a human being this case is one that I will likely not only never forget, but never understand.


Comments

  1. A truly heartbreaking story.
    As for this or any other murderer ever being parolled, it is my firm belief that anything short of a whole life-term is an insult to the victim, to those who knew & loved the victim, and also to decent society in general.
    Rest in peace Donald Scotty Baker.

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  2. I read true crime, am well aware of the unspeakable horror of which humans are capable, but the murder of a child, especially by a trusted caregiver, is the worst, I think. I cannot begin to imagine this little boy's last thoughts. But God has him covered.

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  3. I only recently (last week June 25, 2017) watched the story of Scottie Bakers' murder on the TV show "The FBI Files" and cannot get this horrible story out of my head. I pray to God that the State of Kentucky never paroles Stephanie Spitser Baker. I don't believe that anyone who commits murder the way she did, back in Nov. 1992, can ever be rehabilitated.

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    Replies
    1. I agree 100%....She cold-bloodedly took the life of a little boy simply because of jealousy, she deserves LIFE period

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