CHARLESTON - A Scott County man was sentenced to 25 years in prison for the murder of a his girlfriend.
Larry F. Baker, 42, pled guilty and was sentenced Tuesday to second degree murder in the Circuit Court of Mississippi County.
According to Assistant Scott County Prosecutor Paul Boyd, Baker pled guilty to the Feb. 8, 2001, shooting of Lizabeth Dunn, who was living with Baker at his trailer.
On Feb. 9, 2001, the Scott County Sheriff's Department was alerted to investigate Baker's trailer, which was located east of Benton, for a possible fire and fatality. The alert came from Lisa Poston and Laura Best of Cape Girardeau, who were visited by Baker that morning. Boyd said Baker had indicated to the women that he had lost everything and had barely escaped a fire at his home before going to Cape Girardeau. Baker also volunteered that he did not think Dunn had escaped the fire at his home.
According to Boyd, the story just didn't add up to the women. They said one thing they had noticed was that Baker smelled as if he had just showered and had personal items with him that wouldn't seem consistent with someone who had barely escaped a fire at his home. After deputies with the sheriff's office found Dunn's body in the kitchen, they located a burn pattern on the floor near the laundry area, where it appeared as though someone had attempted to start a fire.
Details of the investigation stated that Baker shot Dunn sometime after 10 p.m. the day before. Boyd said Baker had shot Dunn with a 7 mm magnum bullet fired from a hunting rifle that he said a friend had left in the trailer. He said the fatal shot was fired from approximately two to 10 feet away.
"But for Ms. Best and Ms. Post following their suspicions and making a call to the police, this murder may not have been solved so quickly," Boyd said. He credited the positive result in the case is due to the teamwork between the Scott County Sheriff's office, Missouri Highway Patrol and the Scott County prosecutor's office.
"Mr. Baker will have to serve 85 percent of the 25 years before he is eligible to be considered for parole," said Boyd, who pointed out Baker would not be eligible for parole until he is about 64 years old.
Second degree murder is a dangerous felony which requires that an inmate who is sentenced to a term of years to service is not eligible for parole consideration until 85 percent of that sentence is completed.