Crime - Sacto 911

Former Sacramento police officer replaces lawyer after rape conviction

Attorney Linda Parisi, listening to jurors verify their convictions of her client Gary Dale Baker, has been fired by Baker.
Attorney Linda Parisi, listening to jurors verify their convictions of her client Gary Dale Baker, has been fired by Baker. hamezcua@sacbee.com

Facing a lifetime in prison after a jury in July convicted him of repeatedly raping a woman in her 70s over a three-year span, disgraced former Sacramento police officer Gary Dale Baker has fired his attorney and is seeking a new trial.

Out is defense counsel Linda Parisi, sacked last week by Baker. In is Sacramento criminal defense attorney Donald Masuda, who appeared Monday with his new client at what was to be Baker’s sentencing hearing before Sacramento Superior Court Judge Eugene Sawtelle.

The judge said he will hear a motion for a new trial Nov. 13. If Sawtelle denies the motion, Baker will be sentenced on the November date.

Baker, 52, was a Sacramento Police Department veteran who for years patrolled south Sacramento’s streets. His arrest and subsequent firing stunned and shocked Sacramentans and fellow officers. Baker had been free on bond throughout trial but was immediately remanded into Sacramento County custody following the jurors’ verdict on July 20.

Jurors convicted Baker of all but one of the 10 charges against him, including rape, forcible oral copulation, assault with intent to commit rape and burglary connected to off-duty attacks on the woman at her south Sacramento senior living complex in 2010 and twice more in 2012. Baker was arrested days after the last of the three attacks in December 2012 following a Sacramento police investigation and was dismissed from the force.

The first of the attacks in November 2010, revealed by the woman to family members on Thanksgiving night in 2010, happened roughly a year after she had suffered a debilitating stroke. The woman, 75 at the time of the first attack, was robbed of much of her ability to speak by the stroke but was able to describe the acts to relatives with words, gestures, pen and paper, family members and investigators testified at trial.

Parisi at trial argued that family members and investigators struggled to understand what the woman told them, forcing them to interpret events she described, saying the case boiled down to “an interpretation of words.”

On Monday, Baker’s dark-colored suits were replaced by jail-issue orange fatigues. Salt-and-pepper stubble covered his once-shorn pate.

New attorney Masuda filed papers to replace Parisi on Aug. 12 and Baker’s former counsel has since turned over her casework, Masuda said at the brief afternoon hearing. Documents from the recently completed trial should be on Masuda’s desk by September, with motions to prosecutors by late October.

Darrell Smith: 916-321-1040, @dvaughnsmith

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