BAIRD, ARTHUR PAUL, II # 49
DEATH ROW SINCE 03-13-87
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
Victim(s): Nadine Baird
W/F/32 (wife); Kathryn Baird W/F/78 (mother); Arthur Paul Baird, I
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
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.)
b(8) 3 murders
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
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
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
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."
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
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
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