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COURT Prosecutors seek death penalty against man in double shooting



Published: Sat, February 26, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



MOUNT UNION, Pa. (AP) -- The Huntingdon County district attorney said he will seek the death penalty against a man accused of shooting two people and dumping their bodies along a trash-strewn dirt road.

District Attorney Robert Stewart announced his decision to seek capital punishment against Stephen K. Baker on Friday, the same day Baker was arraigned on first-degree murder and other charges stemming from the Dec. 28 shootings, which police believe came from a botched drug deal.

Baker, 28, of Mount Union, who remains held in the Huntingdon County Jail, pleaded not guilty to the charges. His relatives declined comment after the hearing. His attorneys, Thomas Hooper and David Smith, did not return phone calls for comment after business hours on Friday.

Victims

The bodies of Tirelle Dixon, 21, of Philadelphia, and Jessica Wills, 20, of Dysart, were found Dec. 30 along a secluded one-lane road in Shirley Township, about 50 miles west of Harrisburg, after a passing motorist reported seeing a body.

Both had been shot in the head and their bodies left next to a car, which Dixon borrowed from a friend, state police said.

Baker was arrested after his live-in girlfriend, Crystal M. Frederick, 26, told investigators that Baker shot Dixon and Wills as part of a crack cocaine deal, state police said. Baker also confessed to the killings but said he shot Dixon because he thought the other man was going to draw a gun, state police said.

According to an affidavit of probable cause, Frederick told police that she and Baker were picked up by Wills and Dixon and taken to the secluded road. She said Baker shot Dixon to steal $300 of crack cocaine and then shot Wills because she was a witness, the affidavit said.

Frederick has been charged with hindering apprehension.




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