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Arthur Paul BAIRD II





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Parricide
Number of victims: 3
Date of murder: September 6-7, 1985
Date of arrest: Next day
Date of birth: February 6, 1946
Victims profile: Nadine Baird, 32 (his pregnant wife) and Arthur Paul Baird, 68, and Kathryn Baird, 78 (his wife parents))
Method of murder: Strangulation (Nadine) / Stabbing with knife (Arthur and Kathryn)
Location: Darlington, Montgomery County, Indiana, USA
Status: Sentenced to death on March 13, 1987. Commuted to life in prison on August 29, 2005



DOB: 02-06-1946
DOC#: 872036 White Male

Montgomery County Circuit Court
Judge Thomas K. Milligan

Prosecutors: Wayne E. Steele, Peggy O. Lohorn

Defense: Harry A. Siamas

Date of Murder: September 6-7, 1985

Victim(s): Nadine Baird W/F/32 (wife); Kathryn Baird W/F/78 (mother); Arthur Paul Baird, I W/M/68 (father)

Method of Murder: manual strangulation (Nadine); stabbing with knife (Katherine); stabbing with knife (Arthur)

Summary: Baird strangled his wife on their bed in their trailer home in Darlington for no apparent reason. His wife was 6 months pregnant. He spent several hours watching TV and holding his wife's body. Early the following morning, he went to his parents' home nearby, and after feeding the chickens and getting a haircut from his Mom, he stabbed them both to death with a butcher knife. He left after loading up his belongings, and was arrested in Huntingburg, 2 hours away, the next day. (insanity defense)

Conviction: Murder, Murder, Murder, Feticide (C Felony)

Sentencing: March 13, 1987 (Jury recommended death for the murder of his Mother and his Father, but against death for the murder of his wife. The Court sentenced Baird to 60 years for the Murder of Nadine Baird and 8 years for Feticide, to be served concurrently; Death for the Murder of Kathryn Baird and Death for the Murder of Arthur Baird.)

Aggravating Circumstances: b(8) 3 murders

Mitigating Circumstances: extreme mental and emotional disturbance, no criminal history, active in church, employed; provided for family, honorable discharge from military, person of good character in community


Arthur Paul Baird II

On July 19, the Indiana Supreme Court cited procedural reasons for rejecting a death row inmate's claim that he should not be executed because he was gravely mentally ill in 1985 when he strangled his pregnant wife and stabbed his parents to death.

The Court set an execution date of Aug. 31 for Arthur P. Baird, 59, formerly of rural Montgomery County. Baird has been in the Indiana State Prison at Michigan City since a jury found him guilty of three counts of murder and one count of feticide.

Baird's pro bono attorney, Sarah Nagy, said she would seek review by the U.S. Supreme Court to determine whether it's constitutional to execute someone who is mentally ill.

The U.S. Supreme Court has never addressed the question of executing people who kill due to an "irresistible impulse" inspired by mental illness. Baird strangled his wife on their bed in their trailer home in Darlington for no apparent reason. His wife was 6 months pregnant. He spent several hours watching TV and holding his wife's body.

Early the following morning, he went to his parents' home nearby, and after feeding the chickens and getting a haircut from his Mom, he stabbed them both to death with a butcher knife. He left after loading up his belongings, and was arrested in Huntingburg, 2 hours away, the next day, while watching baseball on TV.

Baird claimed at the time that he believed he had solved the national debt, then $1.94 trillion, and that the federal government was to pay him $1 million for his advice. In reality, Baird was in debt and had just lost his job at R.R. Donnelley, a commercial printing company.

One psychiatrist found Baird insane at the time of the crime. Three said he was sane. Indiana law prohibits executing people who are mentally retarded but doesn't say whether the lives of mentally ill killers should be spared. Indiana's high court said Baird's claim was flawed because it had not been raised in earlier reviews of the case.

In Tuesday's order, Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard said Baird has until Monday to bring new issues before the court. Justice Robert D. Rucker sided with the unanimous court but indicated he is open to hearing about Baird's current mental state. "I continue to believe that a sentence of death is inappropriate for a person suffering a severe mental illness," Rucker wrote. "Nowhere in his lengthy petition does Baird contend that he is now mentally ill." 

UPDATE: Gov. Mitch Daniels on Monday commuted the death sentence of Arthur Baird II, who was scheduled to be executed this week for killing his parents in 1985. The order from Daniels changes Baird’s sentence to life in prison without possibility of parole.

Baird’s lawyers have argued he was mentally ill, but the state Parole Board last week voted 3-1 to recommend that the execution be carried out as scheduled early Wednesday. Daniels acknowledged claims that Baird was mentally ill, but he emphasized other circumstances in his clemency order.

They included the fact that life without parole in murder cases was not an option at the time of Baird’s sentencing. It became an option in 1994. “All members of the jury whose views are known also indicated that, had life without parole been an alternative available to them, they would have imposed it instead of the death penalty,” Daniels wrote.

Prosecutors offered a plea agreement that included so many years in prison it effectively would have kept Baird behind bars for life. But Daniels noted that Baird appeared ready to accept the agreement, but suddenly reversed course and, apparently because of his delusional state, rejected the deal.

Baird, 59, of Darlington, was sentenced to death for killing his parents, Kathryn and Arthur Baird. He also was sentenced to 60 years in prison for killing his pregnant wife, Nadine, the day before his parents’ slayings. “Courts recognized Mr. Baird as suffering from mental illness at the time he committed the murders, and Indiana Supreme Court Justice Ted Boehm recently wrote that Mr. Baird is ’insane in the ordinary sense of the word.’ It is difficult to find reasons not to agree,” Daniels said his statement.

“However, I reach today’s decision without substituting my judgment for others on the ambiguous issue of Mr. Baird’s degree of insanity,” Daniels said. “To me, it suffices to note that had the sentence of life without parole been available in 1987, the jury and the state would have imposed it with support of the victims’ families."

Several people, including Nadine Baird’s sister, Laquita Anglin, urged the Parole Board last week to recommend clemency. An attorney for the state attorney general’s office argued otherwise, saying Baird had escalated stories about his mental illness and that every court in his case had upheld the death sentence.

Anglin said her prayers had been answered. “That’s what I wanted, and that’s what my mom and dad wanted. Not to be put to death,” she said. “Just stay in prison where he’s at and just live out his life.”

Sarah Nagy, an attorney for Baird, also was pleased. “I have a great deal of respect for Mitch Daniels and I had faith he would consider this case seriously,” she said. Nagy said she hoped the issue of mental illness in criminal cases would remain at the forefront.

Among other things, Baird claimed that forces had manipulated his hands as he strangled his wife, and was being controlled by an outside force when he killed his parents the following day. He also said that he believed God would turn back time and bring his wife and parents back to life.

But in a 3-2 ruling last week, the Indiana Supreme Court found him competent to be executed. Nagy said Baird’s case brought up the issue of whether the mentally ill should face execution. “I hope it stays there and doesn’t go back into the closet and we don’t return to the day where we’re not stopping and seriously considering how we treat the mentally ill,” Nagy said.



Baird v. State, 604 N.E.2d 1170, 1175076 (Ind. 1992).


Appellant and his wife, Nadine, lived in a house trailer located on the forty-acre farm near Darlington, Indiana, that he jointly owned with his parents, Kathryn and Arthur Paul Baird, I. His parents lived in the farmhouse and appellant's maternal grandmother, Noradean Fleming, lived in another trailer on the property.

At approximately 4:00 or 5:00 p.m. on September 6, 1985, appellant and Nadine were getting ready to drive to Crawfordsville to go shopping. They planned to visit with Nadine's parents, Lemoyne and Margaret Altic, after they finished, as was their habit on Friday evenings. Nadine was ready to leave before appellant and due to the heat she lay down on the bed and turned a portable fan on herself while she waited for him. After appellant finished getting ready, he walked back to the bedroom and strangled his wife with his hands, then tied a plaid shirt around her neck.

Nadine's parents called the trailer twice that evening. Around 6:00 p.m., appellant told her parents that they would not be visiting because Nadine was sick. The Altics were worried because Nadine was about six months pregnant and they wanted to check on her, but appellant told them not to come over because she had gone to bed. The Altics called back at 10:00 p.m., after also having called appellant's parents to inquire as to Nadine's health, at which time appellant told them that Nadine was still asleep.

Appellant spent the rest of the night in the trailer watching television, writing notes, and periodically lying down next to his wife's body to hold her. He went to his parent's house at about 7:00 a.m., finding them already awake. He fed the chickens and brought the newspaper to his father, and his mother gave him a hair cut.

His father then went outside to the washhouse and his mother returned to the sink to finish making some pickles she had started. Appellant then grabbed her from behind, covered her mouth with one hand, reached for a butcher knife, and stabbed her several times in the abdomen and throat as she struggled and screamed for help. As soon as she fell to the floor he headed for the back door and met his father who was entering the house. Appellant mentioned something about a disturbance, and before his father could react appellant stabbed him in the abdomen and throat as the victim attempted to fight him off.

Appellant went back to the trailer and gathered items which he then loaded in his parent's car until the rear end nearly touched the ground. Margaret Altic called between 8:00 and 9:00 a.m., and appellant told her that Nadine was alright but still in bed. He stated that they were going to leave soon for their realtor's office to close the deal on a 253 acre farm that they had been attempting to purchase for approximately a year and that they would stop over afterwards. Mrs. Altic called again at 9:45 a.m. and appellant again told her that he was about to awaken Nadine and that they would come over after the closing.

Appellant left in his mother's loaded down car but turned around in a neighbor's driveway to come back for a pair of pliers that he thought he might need to open some canned food jars. He left again around 11:00 a.m., driving south toward Lagoda through Darlington and Crawfordsville and then on back roads to Huntingburg, where he was apprehended, two and one half hours from his home, at 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, September 8th, while watching a softball game.



Arthur Paul Baird II



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