Family irate over Trinity County plea deal for murder

H.F. Stewart
H.F. Stewart
Joyce Baker Stewart
Joyce Baker Stewart

TRINITY COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - By Holley Nees - email

TRINITY COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - The victim who survived a Trinity County shooting is pretty clear about what he wants for the man who killed his wife.

"I want him dead," H.F. Stewart said. "That's the bottom line, I want him dead. If anybody deserves it, he deserves it."

H.F. Stewart's 47-year-old step-son, Michael Baker, was sentenced to 15 years when he admitted to killing his mother and shooting Stewart in the face and head.

"I seen her on the floor with her head in a puddle of blood and a hole between her eyes and that's the last time I seen her," Stewart said.

Stewart survived the incident and says he's angry with the district attorney for the deal he made with Baker.

"I asked him why he done what he done and he says I thought it was the best thing I could do, you know, he says I might have messed up," Stewart said. "I said 'buddy you don't know how bad you messed up, you really messed up.'"

"I might not do the plea bargain now like I did, but I'm telling you I did it on the information I had at the time," District Attorney Joe Ned Dean said.

"I said 'well, if I see him, if I can still walk and talk whenever he gets out of prison, you can bet if I see him, I'm going to kill him, it's just as simple as that,'" Stewart said. "I meant exactly that. They can do with me what they want to do because these fools did not do what they was supposed to do."

"Justice was not served," said Vera Hester, the murder victim's daughter. "How can you kill somebody and get 15 years. I mean I don't understand it. It's just crazy."

Dean said he's learned more information since the deal, but at the time, he thought it was a fair sentence.

"There were motions pending before the court that the judge hadn't ruled on, competency exams, psychiatric exams, this kind of stuff," Dean said.

Baker's family says knowing he'll be eligible for parole in about seven years is scary.

"He can rot in hell because what he did was wrong," Hester said.

Stewart says he was in front of the air conditioning unit when Baker shot him twice. He says he remembers every detail of that day and he's still waiting for justice."

"I come up off my knees and when I turned, he shot me in the side of the face and we got to fighting and we fought all the way back in the house," Stewart said.

One of the bullets is still lodged in Stewart's head. It's a constant reminder of the wife he lost and the step-son he says is getting off easy.

"I'll see that the rest of my life," Stewart said. "Damn, Joyce was 67 as it was, she didn't have that many more years to go and this fool took what she had left."

"I'd of gave him life," Hester said. "I mean if not life, the death penalty because he didn't give her the opportunity to know if she wanted to live so why should he have the opportunity to know if he wants to live. He is a convicted murderer."

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