Preacher Convicted of Murdering His Wife
"He was a complete, and still is, a manipulative liar who took me in my vulnerable state and made me believe everything he said," Vanessa Bulls testified.
Bulls was going through rough times when she went to her preacher for counseling. The 27-year-old mom was getting divorced. She didn't expect what happened next.
"He asked if he could hold my hands to pray, and he did. Then afterwards he started to kiss me," Bulls said.
Baptist minister Matt Baker told her he was having his own problems at home. He said his wife Kari was in a state of depression over the death of their infant daughter from cancer. He also told her Kari was a terrible mother, overweight, and emotionally frigid.
One month after they began an affair, Kari Baker was found dead in her home in Waco, Texas of an apparent overdose.
A suicide note was addressed to her husband:
"Matt, I am so sorry...Please continue to be a great dad to our little girls. I love you. Kari"
Kari's family was suspicious. It's odd for an individual to type a suicide note instead of writing it, and Baker's call to 911 seemed oddly indifferent.
911 Operator: "Do you have an emergency?"
Baker: "Uh yes. I think my wife just committed suicide."
Then, two days after his wife's funeral, Baker told his mistress what happened. He had suffocated Kari with a pillow.
Baker's mistress worked up the courage to come forward. She was the key witness for the prosecution.
"He said he handcuffed her to the bed, he said he kissed her on the forehead, then he said he got a pillow and put it over her face," said a tearful Bulls.
On January 20th, Baker learned his fate, a guilty verdict and a sentence of 65 years in prison.
Baker had no visible reaction to the 65-year sentence, but there was more to come. His mother-in-law, Linda Dulin, had something to say to him.
"I'm talking to you, Matt, today. You haven't looked at me in almost four years, can you look at me today? She loved you and you discarded her like she was yesterday's trash! You murdered the mother of your children and I still can't wrap my head or my heart around this," the emotional woman said.
Baker never did work up the nerve to face his mother-in-law, and she could not hide her disgust.
"You really can't look at me can you?" she said scornfully.
Baker will be eligible for parole in 30 years.