Crime - Sacto 911

Life sentence for ex-Sacramento cop in rape case

Defense attorney Donald Matsuda and former Sacramento Police officer Gary Dale Baker listen to the judge sentence him to 62 years to life for raping an elderly woman at her south Sacramento apartment in 2010 and 2012. November 10, 2015
Defense attorney Donald Matsuda and former Sacramento Police officer Gary Dale Baker listen to the judge sentence him to 62 years to life for raping an elderly woman at her south Sacramento apartment in 2010 and 2012. November 10, 2015 pkitagaki@sacbee.com

Gary Dale Baker, the disgraced ex-Sacramento beat cop convicted in July of repeatedly raping a stroke-disabled woman in her 70s, will spend the remainder of his days in state prison, a judge ordered Tuesday after blistering remarks from the bench.

Baker’s crimes were “unspeakable,” Sacramento Superior Court Judge Ernest Sawtelle said as he sentenced the former police officer to 62 years to life in prison for attacks Sawtelle said transformed the onetime veteran cop from “protector to predator.”

“It is impossible for anybody involved in this case to imagine the depravity in one’s heart. It is difficult to imagine a more vulnerable victim,” Sawtelle told Baker. “You tarnished the badge for police officers everywhere. For your crimes, you will be sentenced to life in prison.”

At trial, jurors learned of Baker’s off-duty attacks in November 2010, September and December 2012 on the woman – identified as “Jane Doe” – at her Florin Road-area apartment in a senior living complex. Doe related the first assault to stunned family members on Thanksgiving Day 2010, roughly a year after she suffered a debilitating stroke at 74 that robbed her of much of her ability to speak or understand spoken or written words. The condition, called aphasia, factored heavily at trial.

Baker was 49, the woman 75 years old at the time of the first attack.

You have caused a lot of pain to my mother, but my mother is strong and our family is stronger

Joseph Ramos, son of elderly rape victim “Jane Doe”

Baker, 52, patrolled the streets of south Sacramento for years as a veteran of more than two decades on the Sacramento police force before allegations of the sexual attacks led to his December 2012 firing and arrest, shocking a community and his colleagues in uniform.

Sawtelle spoke of Baker’s “breathtaking deceit” of his department, the Sacramento community and the woman he sexually assaulted in her home.

“This case has to be about ‘Jane Doe.’ She was raped. It harms all of us,” Sawtelle said. “You entered her safe haven, her home, the place where she should be the safest. Then, you went back again and again and again.”

Sawtelle later lauded Doe from the bench Tuesday, calling her struggle to be heard by family and investigators “inspiring.”

Baker did not take the stand at trial, but then-defense attorney Linda Parisi argued that Baker and the woman had a casual relationship that included sex. Parisi argued that the woman’s aphasia required family members to try to interpret what she said and meant and that they were often at a loss to do so. The woman relied on single words, gestures and scrawled notes, sketches and photographs to communicate. Family members and prosecutors said the woman was able to be understood despite her condition.

Family members at trial testified Doe called out “rape,” and “police,” and pantomimed acts she said she was forced to perform. Forensics experts and medical professionals also testified that physical examinations and crime kit analysis revealed evidence of bodily fluids and trauma.

On Tuesday, Sawtelle said the physical evidence and Baker’s own admission of sex acts with Doe were ultimately the former officer’s downfall.

Baker faced 10 counts in all including allegations of rape, forcible oral copulation, assault with intent to commit rape and burglary. Jurors in July convicted Baker of all but one allegation of forcible oral copulation connected to a December 2012 incident.

Baker, held at Sacramento County Main Jail since his July sentencing, fired Parisi in August and replaced her with defense counsel Donald Masuda. On Tuesday, Baker maintained his innocence, saying he had been undone by investigative errors and ineffective counsel.

“I did not rape ‘Jane Doe,’ ” Baker said from the defense table. “I did not do that.”

At sentencing Tuesday, two weeks before another Thanksgiving Day, Joseph Ramos spoke of his mother’s pain and perseverance as a shackled Baker sat silently next to Masuda.

“You have caused a lot of pain to my mother, but my mother is strong and our family is stronger,” Ramos said.

Darrell Smith: 916-321-1040, @dvaughnsmith

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