LONDON, Ky. — A man pardoned by Kentucky’s former governor for a homicide that occurred during a 2014 drug rip off will return to prison to serve a 42-year federal sentence for the same crime.
Patrick Baker was convicted of murder committed during a drug trafficking crime last year in a federal trial. He had previously been pardoned for the homicide and a free man since 2019 when former Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin granted him clemency for the slaying of Donald Mills, Fox News reported.
However, federal authorities brought new charges from the old crime against Baker in May of 2021 after media reports claimed Baker’s family had political connections to Bevin and hosted a fundraiser for the former Republican governor.
Consequently, Baker, 43, was convicted in August 2021 in federal court for the 2014 homicide.
Although he had an exposure of life in prison, Baker was sentenced to 42 years during a Tuesday hearing in U.S. District Court in Kentucky. He was also credited with 30 months served on the previous conviction in state court.
“Baker was convicted of a brazen act of violence — one that resulted in a murder, committed while the victim’s family was nearby,” Carlton Shier, U.S. Attorney for the Kentucky’s eastern district, said in a news release Tuesday night. Shier said law enforcement and the trial team’s “faithful efforts were critical to the verdict, conviction, and sentence.”
Federal prosecutors cited the “dual sovereignty doctrine” in going after the killer despite the state pardon. According to the precept, state and federal officials may prosecute the same defendant for the same actions without infringing on double jeopardy protections, Fox reported.
Baker was convicted of killing Mills, a drug dealer in Knox County, while trying to rob the man of cash and pain pills.
During the crime, Baker posed as a U.S. Marshal. Mills’ pregnant wife and children were held at gunpoint while Baker ransacked the home searching for oxycodone, according to Fox.
Attorneys for Baker had asked the judge to limit Baker’s sentence to a maximum of 19 years. This was the amount of time he had remaining on his sentence when he was pardoned.
U.S. District Judge Claria Horn Boom denied that request.