A murder case that involves jealously, drugs, and a suspect who reported himself to 911 will be presented to a jury. A judge decided Friday there is enough evidence to take the case to trial.
Thirty-year-old Daniel Baker faces charges of first-degree murder in the shooting death at a house on DeSoto Road in Pueblo back in April.
The shooting killed 21-year-old Nicholas Carpenter, and injured 33-year-old Benjamin Williams and Joshua Fenderbosch, 29.
Baker’s defense tried to prove in court a preliminary hearing that Baker acted out of self-defense, alleging he was attacked by the three men. Baker told police he acted out of “fear.”
The shooting suspect told police that he was helping a girl who asked him to come to her house. The girl is Fenderbosch’s girlfriend. Baker said the girl told him that she and Fenderbosch were fighting and that was afraid she would be assaulted if she went home alone.
A recorded voice message from Fenderbosch’s girlfriend backs up that testimony. She told her friend that she was afraid she would get her “ass beat” and brought Baker along as protection.
She also told her friend that Baker had a gun and was told only to shoot to injure, not kill, if it became necessary. Police say that the girl had given Baker drugs as payment for the protection, before the shooting happened.
According to police testimony, Baker said he had a permit for the gun.
Fenderbosch told police that Carpenter, who lives at the home on DeSoto Road, was home when the girlfriend and Baker arrived. Carpenter told Fenderbosch that they were talking crap about him and plotting how she would “get back at him."
According to testimony, Fenderbosch and the girl were fighting because she had stolen money from him. He then called her and asked “who is there and where’s my stuff?”
Fenderbosch told police he then invited Carpenter and his friend Williams to meet them at the home on DeSoto Road. He says he doesn’t remember who threw the first punch, but did ask Baker what was going on through curse words.
Baker told police the men started the fight and that they held him down as they were beating him. He told investigators they kicked and punched him in the head. His lawyer alleges that Baker was left with multiple defensive wounds: scraps, scratches, bruises, and bleeding to his head, arms, and legs.
A Pueblo police officer testified that Baker told him he was “seeing stars” after the beating and had to go into “fight mode to survive,” which was why he pulled out his weapon. Baker told him that if he could have left he would have.
The prosecution alleges that Baker shot the men who appeared to be unarmed. According to testimony, shooting victims Fenderbosch and Williams told police that only Baker and Fenderbosch were involved in the fight. They said that Williams and Carpenter were not beating him, and yet Baker still opened fire.
Both Fenderbosch and Williams told police that even after the fight was over and Fenderbosch had run away, Baker kept shooting.
“Dude, why are you shooting people?” Williams recalled saying.
Williams told police that Baker shot Carpenter a second time while he was on the ground, then turned the gun on him, shooting him twice.
Baker’s defense questioned the validity of the interview, because evidence showed there was only one bullet wound found on Carpenter.
Baker told police that during the fight he tried to escape, but that the men kept coming after him.
The girlfriend was recorded in a voicemail after the shooting sounding hysterical, stating that Carpenter had died and that Baker had shot him. She said she tried to provide CPR. Baker allegedly told her to leave the scene and that he had called 911.
According to testimony in court, after calling 911, Baker unloaded his weapon and placed it on the ground before flagging down responding officers with a flashlight.
Police say Fenderbosch drove himself to the hospital and had two bullet wounds on his back. At the hospital, police found brass knuckles on Fenderbosch.
According to police, Fenderbosch and Williams would not identify themselves at first or tell police who shot them.
According an arrest affidavit, another roommate told police that Fenderbosch and his girlfriend were using and selling drugs out of the home, including meth and cocaine. Investigators also suspected Baker was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the shooting, but he denied both.
The trial is scheduled to begin on November 13, at 8:30 a.m. It is expected to last two weeks.