May 25, 2017
Authorities in Chester County are searching again for Barry Baker, the man accused of callously punching a victim with cerebral palsy outside of a 7-Eleven in West Chester earlier this month.
Baker was in police custody following his arrest on Monday, then paid 10 percent of $25,000 bail to be released after an arraignment hearing. Three days later, Chester County prosecutors issued several bench warrants for his arrest in connection to parole and probation violations.
The scenario is a bit of a head-scratcher, considering the simple assault charge for the May 10 incident in West Chester would theoretically have triggered an immediate violation of his probation. Why didn't that keep him in custody?
"He turned himself in Monday on a criminal arrest warrant," Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan explained. "After he posted bail, adult probation realized they had an open case on him and that he had two technical violations. That's also when the new charges violated his probation."
The first warrant issued Thursday was in connection to his failure to pay restitution in a 2009 case involving theft from a motor vehicle, as well as other fines and costs. A second warrant was issued for his failure to appear for a domestic relations hearing on Thursday.
"He said he was going to turn himself in today," Hogan said. "He didn't do that and we've had people out looking for him."
Baker, who lives in Georgetown, Delaware, pleaded guilty in a 2006 case involving the theft of military flag holders from a pair of cemeteries in Chester County.
Hogan was adamant that his office pursue the statutory maximum sentence in the 7-Eleven case.
"We're not going to tolerate this in Chester County," Hogan said. "The nature of the offense was horrible. It's horrific to think that in this day and age someone would be attacked just because of a physical disability."
The offense, however, cannot currently be treated as a hate crime under Pennsylvania criminal statute.
"The fact that we don't have a law for physical and mental disability is disturbing," Hogan said. "I've spoken to state legislators and they plan on taking that up again very quickly."
Should Baker fail to turn himself in, he will face an additional charge of flight to avoid apprehension.
"The best thing for everyone involved would be for him to surrender," Hogan said.