On Wednesday 29-year-old Barry Baker was sentenced to 3-6 years in prison for hitting a 22-year-old man with cerebral palsy
Baker’s attack was caught on a 7-Eleven security camera in May of this year
After authorities issued a warrant for Baker’s arrest he went on the run for two weeks
Judge William P. Mahon more than tripled the average sentence for assault and fleeing
On Wednesday, 29-year-old Barry Robert Baker Jr was sentenced to three to six years in prison for “sucker punching” a 22-year-old man with cerebral palsy.
In May, Baker was caught on security footage with friends outside a 7-Eleven in West Chester at around 2:30 am. The victim pulled up in his SUV and walked into the store. Baker began mocking how the man walked in the store.
When the man came back out, Baker continued to mock how the victim walked. When the victim stopped at the front of his SUV, Baker sucker punched him then walked away.
The video went viral after the district attorney’s office uploaded the video to YouTube. The viral attention prompted two legislators to propose bills that would make it a hate crime to assault someone with a noticeable physical disability.
Senate Bill 749 was filed by state Sen. Thomas Killion, R-9, of Middletown, Delaware County, and House Bill 1528 by state Rep. Becky Corbin, R-155, of East Brandywine.
After a warrant was issued for Baker’s arrest, he fled his home and became a fugitive for the following two weeks. Baker had his fiance rent a hotel room for him under a friend’s name. She hid the key at a prearranged location and purchased Baker a prepaid cell phone to use while on the run.
On June 5, marshals found Baker hiding in the bathroom of the hotel room. Baker’s phone records showed he had searched “how do cops ping a cellphone” and “how to change my personal name.” Baker also looked up Greyhound and Amtrak tickets to Canada and Mexico.
Baker’s fiance, Denise Schmidt, was arrested on June 27 for hindering apprehension. Coincidentally, on the same day as Schmidt’s arrest, Baker’s father, Barry Baker Sr, was one of 46 arrested during “Operation Wildfire.” Operation Wildfire was a massive drug bust in which Baker Sr was arrested for selling morphine.
Baker faced assault and fleeing authorities, which normally carries a sentence of between three to fourteen months in prison and six months probation. Judge William P. Mahon called Baker a “coward” and a “bully” as he sentenced him to three to six years in prison.
Baker claimed the incident transpired differently than the prosecutor’s narrative. Earlier in the night, Baker claimed he went to some West Chester bars where he met the man he would later assault. Baker claimed the victim was acting inappropriately towards a woman and he said, “Don’t do that. It’s disrespectful.” Baker claimed the man responded, “Who do you think you are, Dr. Phil?”
I just let it go. It was right before closing, last call, and my friends and I were having a last drink. I lost my cigarettes so I walked over to the 7-Eleven to get a pack. I was heading out the door when (the victim) pulled in.
Baker claims that is when the man pulled up to the 7-Eleven and said, “Oh look, its Dr. Phil again,” at which point Baker began mocking how the victim walked. When the victim was leaving the store, Baker claims he said something along the lines of, “You didn’t get the door.” That is when Baker said in an interview with The Daily Local, “I let my anger get the best of me.”
Baker’s lawyer claimed his client was remorseful and came from a dysfunctional home where his mother died from a drug overdose, and his father regularly used drugs. His lawyer went on to claim that Baker was drunk and had confused the man with cerebral palsy with a man he had an encounter with earlier in the night.
Mahon was not buying it. The judge sentenced Baker to 1-2 years for the assault, an additional 1-2 years for fleeing arrest, and another 1-2 years for violating his probation from a 2009 motor vehicle theft.