Attorney General Curtis Hill Seeks Reinstatement Of Death Sentence For Killer


Attorney General Curtis Hill announced today he is asking the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals to reinstate a death sentence in the case of a man who brutally killed a young mother and her 4-year-old daughter.

On February 24, 2004, Frederick Baer randomly selected his victim, Cory Clark, after seeing her outside her home near Lapel, Indiana, in Madison County. He first connived to get her to go into her home by asking to use a phone. After she went inside, Baer followed and initially attempted to rape her. After Cory’s young daughter saw Baer slitting her mother’s throat, Baer chased down the child as she ran to her bedroom, caught her and slashed the child’s throat, nearly decapitating her. After killing his victims, Baer took money from Cory’s purse, collected some decorative rocks as souvenirs and then drove to his job at a construction site. He told co-workers he was late because he had gotten lost before handing one crew member some cash and asking that co-worker to go buy him hamburgers.

After being convicted of murder, attempted rape and theft, Baer was sentenced to death. His convictions and sentence were twice affirmed by the Indiana Supreme Court, and a federal district court denied Baer’s request for habeas corpus. Later, however, a three-judge panel from the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Baer was entitled to habeas relief in the form of a new penalty phase of his trial – effectively sending the case back to Madison Circuit Court for a redo of sentencing.

The panel found that instructions to jury members may have precluded consideration of methamphetamine use as possible grounds for a lighter sentence. The panel also stated that trial attorneys representing Baer failed to object to improper comments by the prosecuting attorney.

In his petition for an en banc rehearing of the matter – asking the full court to consider the three-judge panel’s ruling — Attorney General Hill noted both that the Indiana Supreme Court rejected Baer’s claims of error in accord with federal law and that Indiana should be allowed to impose the judgment of jury and judge.

”No one disputes the fact that this man is guilty of the heinous crimes for which a jury convicted him,” Attorney General Hill said. “The U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals would serve the cause of justice by overturning the panel’s decision and letting the death sentence stand. The law does not require that this case be sent back to Madison County for a new sentencing phase.”