30 July 2010
BY CHASE PURDY
The News Virginian

STAUNTON – Twelve years ago, while documenting the murder scene, Augusta County Sheriff’s Capt. Randy Fisher looked up and saw him.

Sitting on the front stoop of a neighboring home, sipping from a thermos of coffee, Kenneth Wayne Baker, watched as authorities excavated a septic tank to retrieve the body of Ruth Naomi Mays.

Fisher snapped Baker’s photo.

Holding the picture Thursday in Augusta County Circuit Court, Fisher, now the county sheriff, recounted the scene to Judge Victor V. Ludwig. The sheriff didn’t have to reach far into his memory to recall the sounds and sights of that warm June afternoon.

“I know it was a mess,” he said. “I look at the pictures and I can still smell that scene there.”

Baker, 43, of Churchville, pleaded guilty Thursday to second-degree murder and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony in Mays’ killing and aggravated sexual battery in separate case. His admissions came after a dozen years of doctors’ evaluations which, until April 22, ruled him unfit to stand trial.

With a desktop covered in evidence, Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Rupen Shah submitted to the court documents, videos and photos – all of which spoke to the murder.

In a 1998 interrogation by Augusta County Sheriff’s Office sergeants Dwight D. Wood and William Lemerise, the detectives asked Baker what he thought as he sat on the porch, sipping coffee.

“Just all those people out there,” Baker said. “One thing in this whole thing I think is sad, too, is somebody like that lived a pretty unremarkable life and then their name and picture is in the paper more times when they’re dead than it was the whole time they were alive.”

Read the rest at The News Virginian.

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