While prosecutors and politicians spin conspiracy theories about Patrick Baker’s pardon, they completely ignore DNA and other compelling evidence proving his innocence
Kentucky State Police officers who wrongly fingered Baker for murder have long histories of alleged misconduct
LEXINGTON, KY – Patrick Baker was granted a full pardon on December 11, 2019 by outgoing Governor Matt Bevin, prompting a local prosecutor and politicians to irresponsibly spin tales of political conspiracies.
These lazy commentaries do a disservice to true justice and recklessly ignore basic facts about Mr. Baker’s case. They also conveniently ignore verified allegations of police misconduct by officers in Knox County, Kentucky.
- Mr. Baker has always maintained his innocence of the murder of Donald Mills.
- DNA evidence left at the scene of the murder clears Baker of killing Mr. Mills.
- Multiple eyewitnesses said that the killer of Mr. Mills had brown eyes and a specific tattoo on his bicep. Baker had neither.
- The two Kentucky State Police officers who led the investigation against Mr. Baker have well-documented track records of misconduct.
- As a result of this misconduct, KSP Officers Bryan Johnson and Jason York are currently facing two separate federal lawsuits – Hoskins, et al. v. Knox County, et al. (17-CV-84) and Anderson v. Knox County, et al. (17-CV-133). These suits accuse Johnson and York, amongst others, of framing four innocent people in two separate investigations of murders they did not commit. In those cases, these officers are accused of coercing witnesses, fabricating statements, and destroying evidence.
In the Anderson case, Mr. York admits that he threatened to “fry” people while questioning them in a homicide investigation. A recording of a witness interview captures Defendant York particularly unhinged, screaming at the witness while throwing a chair into a wall. The audio-recording can be found here.
In the Hoskins case, Mr. York admits to falsely testifying before a grand-jury falsely testifying before a grand-jury, filling out false search warrant affidavits, and charging a witness with murder without ever informing the Knox County Commonwealth Attorney (see pages 57-64 [false grand-jury testimony]; 21-22 [false search warrant affidavit]; 36-41, 69-72 [charges against Kayla Mills] of Plaintiffs’ Hoskins and Taylor’s summary judgment response and the attendant testimony under oath).
Under oath, the Knox County Commonwealth Attorney Jackie Steele cavalierly said he was not shocked by this misconduct (see page 116 of his testimony). He then admitted,
“I guess you could say that if you’ve done this so long, the things you’ve seen…the level that requires you to shock value increases, unfortunate. Is this the type of investigative work I’d like to see? No. But does it shock me? No…”. Id. To date, the Knox County Commonwealth Attorney has not charged any of these officers with a crime. In fact, when the Hoskins lawsuit was filed, Mr. Steele referred Mr. York to a civil attorney to defend himself from the pending lawsuit. Id. at 166-167.
“Over the past week, relatives of Patrick Baker have been unfairly attacked and accused of ‘paying’ for a pardon. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is a fundamental right for citizens to freely support politicians they believe in. The Bakers’ support of Gov. Bevin’s reelection campaign is conducted openly and is neither illegal nor unethical. Above all else, it was unrelated to Patrick’s wrongful conviction,” said Elliot Slosar of the civil rights law firm Loevy & Loevy Attorneys at Law, who represents Mr. Baker. Loevy & Loevy represents the plaintiffs in the pending Hoskins and Anderson lawsuits as well.
In spite of the pending lawsuits and their admissions made of misconduct while under oath, both Johnson and York are still employed by Kentucky State Police.
“Given this systemic misconduct, the Baker family joins the call for an investigation into Officers Johnson and York,” said Slosar.
“Specifically, we ask Governor Beshear to authorize the Kentucky Attorney General’s Office under KRS 15.200 to investigate police misconduct that occurred during the investigations into the deaths of Katherine Mills, Donald Mills, and Bobby Wiggins. This misconduct not only led to the initiation of charges against innocent people for murders they did not commit but it also prevented the victims’ families in each of these cases from knowing who killed their loved ones. Given the close relationship between the local prosecutors and law enforcement, the community cannot have any faith that officers will be prosecuted for violating Kentucky law and the constitutional rights of citizens in eastern Kentucky.”
“I am grateful for the courageous actions of Governor Bevin,” said Baker. “After being presented with evidence of my innocence and allegations of misconduct against the police officers in my case, he gave me a chance to have my life back. I hope that the true killer of Donald Mills is ultimately apprehended and that the Mills’ family gets closure in the end by having the right person in prison. I did not kill Donald Mills and my family did not pay for my release.”
Loevy & Loevy Attorneys at Law is one of the largest civil rights law firms in the country with its main offices in Chicago. Over the past decade, Loevy & Loevy has won more multi-million dollar jury verdicts than any other civil rights law firm in the country.