Crime

Harry Baker in grave condition, molestation trial unlikely, judge says

Harry Baker’s felony molestation trial likely won’t happen because he is in grave condition, the former Madera County supervisor’s lawyer said Wednesday.

Baker, 87, who suffered a stroke on March 10 while in Fresno County Jail, didn’t attend the hearing in Fresno County Superior Court. Judge Jonathan Conklin said medical reports indicate Baker’s condition is terminal.

Conklin said criminal proceedings against Baker will remain suspended. The judge noted a court-appointed doctor examined Baker recently and determined he was incompetent to stand trial. Baker is unconscious at an undisclosed hospital.

Conklin then vacated Baker’s April 6 trial date and scheduled a status hearing for April 7.

Outside court, Baker’s lawyer, Roger Nuttall, said he visited his client Monday. Baker remains in custody at the hospital with a correctional officer guarding him.

“He’s in bad shape,” Nuttall said . “I can’t say it (Baker’s death) is imminent, but it could be any day.”

Baker has pleaded not guilty to one felony count of molesting a 13-year-old girl in 2007. He contends he was the victim of an extortion plot by the girl’s family and that the girl tricked him into molesting her while secretly videotaping him. Baker told police he paid $250,000 to the girl’s family members to prevent the tape’s release.

Baker’s trial has been delayed multiple times since 2009 due to health problems, such as open-heart surgery and a tracheotomy.

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