The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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April 30, 2013

Death row inmate says he 'deserves to die'

(Continued)

MICHIGAN CITY, Ind. —

In the past 25 years, 94 criminal defendants have been sentenced to death in Indiana. Twenty have been executed. Fifty-four cases were reversed by the state or the courts. It has been four years since the last person was put to death.

Baer spoke softly, emotionally during his prison interview. Shackles and chains restrained him from ankles to wrists. Long pauses and deep breaths interrupted his comments. He choked back tears and turned away from the camera in shame and regret when talking about the murders that put him on death row.

Baer said he was working at a construction site in Anderson, Ind., on the afternoon of the murders. He said he was suffering withdrawal from methamphetamine. Anxiety hammered in his head. Sweat seeped from his skin despite the February chill. With evil intent, he said he left work early to drive someplace. Any place to rob. Any woman to rape.

He drove to Lapel and parked near two homes. He approached one house and knocked on the door. A woman answered but cautiously kept Baer from looking inside. He asked to use her phone.

“She brought me the phone, but I was trying to get in," he recalled. "So I dialed something and gave her the phone back."

Down the road, he spotted a woman moving boxes outside. It was Cory Clark, wife of John Clark and mother of Jenna and Morgan. Her husband was in Florida looking for a job, and her older daughter Morgan was at school.

Baer knocked on Clark’s door.

“A little girl answered the door,” Baer said. “She went to get her mother, and I asked if I could use the phone.”

Cory Clark went to get her phone without noticing Baer was following her inside. She turned around and started to scream.

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