Zachery Baker will finally stand trial for the murder of two women who were shot and killed in Hudson five years ago, the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office announced Friday.
Now 31, Baker is the only suriving suspect in the 2014 murders of 24-year-old roommates Amber Jordan and Jessica Keith. They were found on Feb. 3, 2014, both killed by gunfire, inside a house at 14235 Pine St. that had been set on fire. They were killed before the fire, detetectives believe, which was set to cover up the murders.
Baker and his step-father Richard Morris were quickly identified as suspects, according to the Sheriff’s Office. They had fled the area and committed offenses in Michigan. Then days after the bodies were found, on Feb. 17, 2014, police tracked them to a Red Roof Inn near Taylorsville, Ind., according to news reports.
After a three-hour standoff, the 44-year-old Morris died by suicide. Baker surrendered. He’s now serving a sentence of 20 to 99 years in prison at the Chippewa Correctional Facility in Kincheloe, Mich., on charges of armed robbery and home invasion.
The 2014 case was revived on Thursday, when a Pasco County grand jury indicted Baker on unspecificed charges in the deaths of Jordan and Keith.
After the Indiana standoff, Pasco detectives say they questioned Baker in a Michigan jail and that he declined to speak to them. But the investigation continued, and the agency said detectives questioned others the two men had spoken to and obtained “incriminating statements” they made. The Sheriff’s Office did not say what those statements were or release any other information about what led to the indictment.
At the time of the murders, Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco said the women were “high-probability victims” who had put themselves in harm’s way by associating with drug dealers. The women had accused the men of stealing money from them weeks before the murders, according to the Sheriff’s Office, but stopped cooperating with the investigation when Baker and Morris told detectives that what they had stolen was crack cocaine.
The process of extraditing Baker back to Florida has already begun, but the Sheriff’s Office could not say when he will be brought to Pasco County.
Contact McKenna Oxenden at [email protected] Follow @mack_oxenden.