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Hudson murder suspects fled across state lines; one died in Indiana standoff, deputies say

HUDSON — Jessica Keith and Amber Lynn Jordan met their suspected killers in a Tampa Bay area motel, investigators say.

The women, both 24, invited Zachary Baker and Richard Morris to the hotel to sell the men crack cocaine on Dec. 16, said Pasco sheriff's Sgt. Charles Troy. They smoked $200 to $300 worth of the drug, then Baker and Morris fled without paying.

One of the women reported to authorities that the men robbed her of money, Troy said. She didn't mention the drugs. Detectives found and questioned Baker and Morris, who admitted they stole crack from the women. Keith and Jordan stopped cooperating with the investigation, and charges were never brought against the men.

Detectives couldn't say what happened between then and Feb. 3 — the day the women turned up dead in a house fire, killed before the fire was set, according to investigators. No clear motive has presented itself in leading to the homicide. Detectives believe Keith and Jordan may have been making and selling crack cocaine out of their home at 14235 Pine St. in Hudson.

The day after Keith and Jordan's deaths, Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco told reporters he suspected drugs. Nocco referred to Keith and Jordan as "high-probability victims," or people who put themselves in harm's way by associating with drug dealers. Keith was arrested twice in 2012 on cocaine and marijuana possession charges.

After the killings, Baker, 26, and Morris, 44, fled to Oakland County, Mich. There, Nocco said, the men committed at least one home invasion robbery before they were off again: 333 miles south to a Red Roof Inn on U.S. 31 near Taylorsville, Ind.

Indiana State Police received a tip Monday morning that the men were in the hotel, according to FOX59 in Indianapolis. Police contacted them just before 5 a.m., beginning a three-hour standoff.

A gunshot was heard in the room around 8:30 a.m., FOX59 reported. Baker gave himself up. Investigators went inside the room to find Morris dead, apparently having shot himself. Baker was arrested.

Earlier this week, Pasco sheriff's Detective Samantha Allee received a tip that the men killed Keith and Jordan. She went to Michigan to investigate.

Morris had a slew of felonies, including bank robberies, that landed him in Michigan state prisons before, Allee said. Baker had no prior arrests.

Baker is being held in the Oakland County jail on charges of home invasion, armed robbery and concealing stolen property. Allee went to interview him in the jail but declined to discuss what he told her. He has not been charged with murder in Pasco.

Contact Alex Orlando at aorlando@tampabay.com (727) 869-6247.

Hudson murder suspects fled across state lines; one died in Indiana standoff, deputies say 02/21/14 [Last modified: Friday, February 21, 2014 9:58pm]

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