Jury rejects crystal meth psychosis defence
A 21-year-old who testified that "it was God’s will" to murder his pregnant childhood friend will be spending at least 25 years behind bars.
Jared Baker, a former crystal meth addict, admitted that he gunned down 19-year-old Olivia Talbot at her south-side home, but a jury rejected his defence that he couldn’t be held criminally responsible since he suffered from a drug-induced psychosis.
When the jury read the guilty verdict Friday, handing him an automatic life sentence, Baker blushed and blinked rapidly while Talbot’s family clapped and wept.
"I have been set adrift in a sea of agony," Talbot’s mother, Mary, said in a victim impact statement read to the court. "I still weep every day. My emotions are but a jumbled cocktail since hearing the facts of this senseless deed."
"I’m pretty sure I’ve completely forgotten how it feels to be happy," said Talbot’s sister, Crystal. "I don’t really know what there is to be happy about anymore. My little sister is dead. My family is a wreck."
During the three-week trial, the jury heard that Baker stole his father’s rifle on Nov. 23, 2005 before he snorted a line of crystal meth and drove to Talbot’s condo.
He then apologized to her moments before he opened fire, shooting her twice in the head and then three times in the stomach "to get the baby."
Four medical experts testified that Baker had a history of strange delusions, but were divided on whether it meant he knew what was morally wrong at the time of the shooting.
Baker told court his addiction made him believe he was the "son of Satan" and killing Talbot and her unborn baby would "save all the souls" and let him walk as Jesus Christ.
It is not known if Baker will appeal the verdict. His defence lawyer declined to comment.