Baer to get new sentencing hearing for 2004 murder

THB File PhotoFredrick Baer talks to The Herald Bulletin during an interview at the Indiana State Prison in Michigan City on April 23, 2013.

ANDERSON – Convicted murderer Fredrick M. Baer will return to a Madison County courtroom on Aug. 1 to be resentenced after the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned his death sentence stating the jury instructions could have misled jurors in terms of mitigating factors to be considered.

Baer was convicted of murder, attempted rape and theft for the 2004 killing of 26-year-old Cory Clark and her daughter Jenna, 4.

His convictions and sentence were twice affirmed by the Indiana Supreme Court.

During the trial, the jurors were twice informed that they could consider any evidence in mitigation, including voluntary intoxication at the time the crimes were committed, according to a brief filed by the Indiana attorney general’s office.

In December, the U.S. Supreme Court decided not to hear the appeal filed by Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill to reinstate the death penalty for Baer.

The sentence hearing is set for 11 a.m. in Madison Circuit Court Division 6.

Madison County Prosecutor Rodney Cummings said Thursday that Baer will be sentenced to life without parole.

“He’s guilty of the murder,” Cummings said. “This will be a new sentencing hearing.”

John Clark, husband and father of the two victims, will testify along with Cory Clark's mother, sister and brother during the sentencing hearing, Cummings said.

“He’s guilty of the offenses,” Cummings said previously. “The guilty pleas were affirmed in the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.”

CRIMINAL ACT

On the afternoon of Feb, 24, 2004, Baer was working at a construction site in Anderson. He said he was suffering withdrawal from methamphetamine.

He drove to Lapel and parked near two homes. He approached one house and knocked on the door. A woman answered but cautiously kept Baer from looking inside. He asked to use her phone.

Down the road, he spotted Cory Clark moving boxes outside. Her husband was in Florida looking for a job, and her older daughter Morgan was at school.

When Cory Clark went to get the telephone, Baer followed her inside and killed the mother and her young daughter, Jenna.

Baer was arrested on Feb. 27, 2004, after police were tipped off when residents near the Clark home told police a man had knocked on their doors, asking for directions to Layton Road.

Residents told police the man was driving a small gray-blue hatchback, which had a handicap tag in it. One of the residents noted the car's license plate number.

Police tracked the car to an Indianapolis construction worker who was working in Anderson, and workers at the construction site said the car belonged to Baer.

During a 2013 interview on death row, Baer told The Herald Bulletin he thinks about the case every day and that he deserves to die.

Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 765-640-4863.

​Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 640-4863.

Senior Reporter covering Anderson and Madison County government, politics and auto racing for The Herald Bulletin. Has been working as a journalist in central Indiana since 1977.