Pardoned Killer Sentenced To 42 Years In Federal Prison For The Same Murder

By Bill Galluccio

January 19, 2022

Photo: Laurel County Correctional Center

A Kentucky man pardoned for killing a drug dealer was sentenced to 42 years in federal prison for the same crimePatrick Baker was convicted of homicide for murdering Donald Mills and sentenced to 19 years behind bars.

Mills was killed in 2014 when Baker and another man stormed into his home to steal oxycodone pills. Baker posed as a U.S. Marshall while Mills' pregnant wife and children were held at gunpoint as the men searched the mobile home for oxycodone pills. Mills was shot twice in the chest during the robbery before Baker, and the other man fled the scene.

Baker was convicted of reckless homicide, robbery, impersonating a police officer, and tampering with evidence.

After serving 30 months of his sentence, Baker was pardoned by former Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin in 2019. The pardon sparked outrage, which intensified when it was reported that Baker's family held a political fundraiser for Bevin in 2018.

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron urged the FBI to look into the case. After reviewing the evidence, federal prosecutors decided to file murder charges against Baker under the "dual sovereignty doctrine," which allows a defendant to face federal and state charges for the same crime without violating double jeopardy protections.

Baker faced life in prison after he was convicted on federal charges, but his lawyer urged the judge to sentence him to 19 years in jail to match the sentence he was originally given. Instead, U.S. District Judge Claria Horn Boom decided to sentence Baker to 42 years behind bars.

Baker's lawyers said they plan to appeal to sentence.

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