murdered three elderly Topekans, but a fourth escaped
Monday, June 23, 2003
Verne "B." Horne grasped her two
elderly neighbors by the arms, feeling them tremble as the man who had
killed their neighbor forced them to walk along a rural path east of
It was Dec. 4, 1989, and
19-year-old Tyrone Lamont Baker was holding a gun on Horne and her
neighbors, Lester Haley, 87, and his wife, Nancy Haley, 69.
Baker told his captives to stop
walking and lie face down. He cocked his handgun and pointed it at
Horne's head, she later testified.
But Horne, 68, refused. She had
once read about three "rules" for dealing with kidnappers -- and one was
to not turn away.
"Whatever you do
to me, you have to do with me facing you," Horne said.
She told Baker that if he killed
them he would be a murderer, a young man facing a lifetime in prison.
Horne offered Baker $1,000 to let
her go. The Haleys agreed to sweeten the pot.
Baker replied that he didn't know
whether he was a murderer yet.
Horne moved to capitalize. She
suggested perhaps Baker hadn't really killed their neighbor, 72-year-old
Ida Mae Dougherty.
"If you didn't really kill Ida
Mae, you're not a murderer yet," Horne said.
She suggested Baker leave them and
check where he had left Dougherty the previous night. Baker protested,
saying Horne would call the police.
Horne answered that she would
swear on a Bible -- if she had one -- that she and the Haleys would wait
there for him for an hour.
Baker decided to go check. He
climbed into Dougherty's car and drove off.
Horne and the Haleys ran for their
Prelude to a
Tyrone Baker first hinted on Dec.
3, 1989, that he was ready to go on a crime spree. Baker suggested that
morning to his girlfriend, 18-year-old Lisa Pfannenstiel, that they arm
themselves and "become terrorists" inside someone's home in order to get
money to live on.
At the time, Baker and
Pfannenstiel were living on the streets. They had known each other for a
year or two, and dated since September 1989. Both attended high school
briefly that fall, Baker at Topeka High School and Pfannenstiel at
Washburn Rural and Topeka West, then stopped going.
School officials described both as
"low-profile" students who posed no discipline problem, though Baker had
spent about a year on probation after being convicted in Shawnee County
juvenile court of stealing a car in August 1987 from a Topeka
Pfannenstiel had a history of
running away from home and had gone through substance abuse treatment.
She left her father's home in Auburn in the fall of 1989 and moved in
with Baker. Soon afterward, Baker was evicted. By early December, they
were staying in homes of friends.
later testified that at the time, she and Baker thought she was
pregnant. They were right. Their baby would be born in prison and given
up for adoption.
On the evening of Dec. 3, Baker
borrowed a gun from an acquaintance. He and Pfannenstiel went to
Topeka's upscale Westboro community. They tried a door of one house and
peered into another. Then, they went to the house at 3410 S.W. Avalon
Lane where Ida Mae Dougherty, a widow, lived alone.
Her minister described Dougherty
as a "steadfast, remarkable, difficult, exasperating, troubling,
endearing, courageous woman of faith."
As a young woman, Dougherty
enrolled at Kansas State Teachers College in Emporia and checked into a
dormitory before walking into a dean's office to say, "I'm here, and I
have no money." The school arranged for her to work her way through
After graduation, Dougherty taught
school before coming to Topeka in 1944 to work as social director for
the Menninger Foundation. She later worked for more than 30 years as a
real estate agent in Topeka, stressing to customers that she sold
"homes," not just houses. Dougherty was active at First Congregational
Church, where she and her daughter formerly taught a class for mentally
Baker and Pfannenstiel saw
Dougherty through a ground-floor kitchen window, and decided to break in
because they thought she was alone. Baker cut a hole in a screen door,
entered the porch and encountered a glass door. He and Pfannenstiel
walked a few blocks to the home of a friend, who lent them duct tape.
They returned to the house and used the tape to quietly break the door
The couple went upstairs
unnoticed, probably because the TV was on very loudly. No one was
upstairs, where Pfannenstiel testified she waited as Baker went
downstairs and she heard Dougherty scream, "Oh my God!"
Baker confronted Dougherty in her
kitchen, robbed her of $70 and made her lie down and bind her own feet
with tape. Baker came upstairs and told Pfannenstiel he would have to
"do" Dougherty because she had gotten a good look at him. He took a
pillow downstairs as his girlfriend waited at the top of the stairs.
"I heard some struggling and some
kicking," she later testified. "She was kicking the cabinets."
When the noise stopped,
Pfannenstiel walked partway down the stairs. She looked into a wall
mirror and saw Dougherty's lifeless body and bound feet. The sight made
her throw up.
The couple put Dougherty's body in
the trunk of Dougherty's car, a red, two-door 1984 Ford. They drove east
to Douglas County, where Pfannenstiel held a flashlight for Baker as he
dumped the body, leaving it under leaves. Pfannenstiel tried to avoid
looking at the body, but noticed Dougherty's head had been completely
wrapped in duct tape.
The couple returned to spend the
night in Dougherty's home. They opened Dougherty's Christmas presents,
found other items to steal and went to bed in a spare bedroom. Baker
slept well, Pfannenstiel later recalled.
Late the next morning, the
relentless ringing of Dougherty's phone awakened the couple. Baker said
to ignore it. They decided to leave. Baker was putting on his shoes when
the front door opened downstairs.
It was Dougherty's neighbors,
looking for her.
At 87 years old, Lester Haley
still played golf regularly on Wednesdays and Saturdays at Shawnee
Country Club. An architect, Haley had retired at age 65, gone back to
work and retired again at 85. He had been married for 14 years to his
wife, Nancy, 69, a retired employee of Design Forum in Topeka. Both were
preceded in death by a first spouse. Friends described the Haleys as
good neighbors and helpful, caring people who had lots of friends and
were active at First Congregational Church.
Late the morning of Dec. 4, Nancy
Haley called their neighbor, Horne, to say Dougherty wasn't answering
her telephone and that her newspaper had remained on the driveway much
longer than usual. Horne was a retired activities therapist at Topeka
State Hospital and the wife of a psychiatrist, Dr. James Horne. She
agreed to meet Lester Haley at Dougherty's house.
Horne and Lester Haley used a key
Dougherty had given them to enter. They called out "Ida Mae" while
searching several rooms. When they entered the guest bedroom after
seeing the door was partially open, Baker accosted them at gunpoint and
told them not to move.
He made Horne and Lester Haley lie
face-down on beds in another bedroom. Nancy Haley, who was worried about
her husband, showed up moments later. Baker forced her to lie face-down
on the floor between the beds.
Baker asked why her neighbors had
come to Dougherty's house. Horne replied, "We take care of our neighbors
Baker told Pfannenstiel he would
have to kill the three. He told her to load up Dougherty's car with the
Christmas presents and other items they were stealing from the house.
Pfannenstiel made three trips to
the car, then refused to make any more and said she was leaving. Baker
agreed, promising to pick her up later at a friend's house. Pfannenstiel
left, wearing a diamond ring Baker had taken off Dougherty's finger.
Baker forced his captives to face
a wall, remove their eyeglasses, walk downstairs and go out the back
door to the garage. They walked to Dougherty's mid-size Ford car and saw
the trunk was open. Baker told them to get into it, but Horne convinced
him they were too old and the trunk was too small.
Then, Horne's husband drove up to
their house across the street. Horne fought the temptation to scream for
help, reasoning "Why should we both be killed?"
Baker demanded to know if his
captives knew the man across the street. Horne said it was her husband,
but he wouldn't miss her. Baker ordered Horne and the Haleys into the
back seat of Dougherty's car. He started the car, turned it around in
the driveway and drove off, obeying the traffic laws as he drove east.
Horne had read that conversing was
one of the three rules in dealing with kidnappers, so she asked Baker
about himself. Baker talked to Horne for a time, mostly telling lies.
Horne made it a point to show sympathy for Baker, particularly when he
said his wife had been killed, leaving him alone to raise a 2-month-old
daughter. That turned out to be a lie.
East of Topeka, in a hilly part of
western Douglas County, Baker stopped and told his captives to get out.
He held a gun on them as they walked about 200 yards, then told them to
lie face down on the side of the road.
A race for life
After Horne refused to obey Baker
and convinced him to leave, she helped the Haleys get up. Horne told
them to hide while she went east to get help.
Horne, who wasn't as frail as the
Haleys, ran alone through the hills, wondering whether every twig snap
was Baker behind her. She saw the red car he was driving pass by slowly
as she hid in the woods.
Horne stopped at a house, but
found no one home and left for fear that barking dogs there would give
her away. She saw other houses, but stuck to the woods for fear of being
After about three hours, Horne
took a chance and hailed a passing car, driven by an area resident. They
went to a nearby house. Horne called her husband and learned police
detectives were at her home.
Authorities searched the area
where the Haleys were last seen. Police in a helicopter used a
loudspeaker to try to find them, without success.
That evening, police found
Dougherty's missing car in a lot at the southwest corner of S.W. 29th
and Gage Boulevard. Plainclothes officers watched the empty car for
about 30 minutes, then went to it and searched it thoroughly.
Also that evening, police
announced that Dougherty and the Haleys were missing. They asked for the
public's help in finding them.
The next day, Dec. 5, police
released a composite sketch of the gunman. The sketch showed a black man
with shoulder-length hair that was slightly wavy, with some curl at the
At about 1:10 p.m. that day,
bodies of the Haleys were found in a field in western Douglas County,
about two miles east of where Horne and the couple had been dropped off.
Both had been shot to death. Authorities concluded the gunman recaptured
them, took them there and killed them.
That afternoon, Baker went to
Topeka High School and gave a handgun to an acquaintance. That youth
turned it over to Topeka police that night.
Other acquaintances who had heard
that Baker and Pfannenstiel were involved with the murders realized the
gravity of the situation and contacted police. The case was attracting
significant media attention. A crew from CNN was in Topeka.
By late Dec. 5, officers had
questioned many of the couple's friends, conducted several searches and
seized much of the property stolen from Dougherty's home. Now it was
time to capture Baker and Pfannenstiel.
Police watched the couple for
several hours before arresting them, unarmed and without resistance, at
about 11 p.m. Dec. 5 at the south Topeka hotel where they were staying.
On Dec. 6, Dougherty's body was
found under leaves in western Douglas County, about two miles from the
Soon after Baker and Pfannenstiel
were arrested, Kansas Bureau of Investigation Director Dave Johnson told
a racist joke while chatting with two reporters about the interracial
nature of their relationship. One of the reporters -- Ted Frederickson,
a University of Kansas journalism faculty member working for the Kansas
City Times -- wrote a column critical of Johnson's use of the joke,
which was published Dec. 10, 1989. Johnson resigned under pressure later
Shawnee County prosecutors charged
Baker and Pfannenstiel with numerous felonies, then offered Pfannenstiel
a deal. They would drop all other charges if she would testify against
Baker and plead guilty to aggravated burglary and conspiracy to commit
Pfannenstiel agreed. She was
convicted and sentenced to six to 15 years in prison.
Horne and relatives of Dougherty
and the Haleys became concerned after hearing prosecutors also were
making a deal with Baker. They hired local attorney Pedro Irigonegaray
to serve as a special prosecutor and represent their interests in court.
Baker used an insanity defense
during separate trials held in Shawnee and Douglas counties. Both
included testimony from Baker, Pfannenstiel and Horne.
Kris W. Miller, who had loaned
Baker the gun, shocked some spectators at the Shawnee County trial by
testifying while wearing a T-shirt that pictured a bright yellow happy
face with blood gushing from a bullet hole in the forehead.
Baker told jurors he had a history
of mental problems, which included hearing voices and losing control of
his body to a "friend" who took care of him. Baker said no one could see
his friend unless the friend wanted them to. He said he was powerless to
keep his friend from taking control, and often couldn't remember what
happened when his friend was in control.
Baker said he hadn't sought help
in dealing with his friend because he didn't want people calling him a
"freak," and he "already had problems enough getting friends and fitting
into the crowd." Baker said he had no knowledge of how the Haleys died,
and couldn't remember holding Horne and the Haleys captive.
At both trials, psychiatrists gave
conflicting testimony as to whether Baker knew what he was doing was
wrong. Pfannenstiel testified before both juries that Baker was coherent
during the time she was with him and never mentioned being possessed or
hearing voices. She said she thought Baker knew what he was doing was
The juries agreed. Baker was
convicted in August 1990 in Shawnee County of first-degree murder,
conspiracy to commit aggravated burglary and three counts of kidnapping.
He was convicted in August 1991 in Douglas County District Court of the
murders of the Haleys.
Pfannenstiel entered the Kansas
prison system in July 1990 and was set free in December 1993 after the
state that year adopted sentencing guidelines that required her release,
according to the Kansas Department of Corrections. Corrections officials
don't know her whereabouts today.
September 3, 1991
LAWRENCE -- The Douglas County
courtroom was silent Friday for the reading of verdicts finding Tyrone
L. Baker guilty of all charges relating to the December 1989 kidnappings
and murders of Topekans Lester and Nancy Haley.
Some members of the Haley family
cried silently. Baker, 21, sat motionless, eyes fixed straight ahead, as
the court clerk read the five felony verdicts.
The jury deliberated slightly more
than two hours before finding Baker guilty of first- degree murder in
the Haleys' deaths, guilty of the aggravated kidnappings of the Haleys
and guilty of committing aggravated assault on the Haleys' neighbor,
Verne B. Horne, 70.
In finding Baker guilty of the
aggravated kidnapping charges, the jury decided the kidnappings were
committed both with the intent to inflict bodily injury or to terrorize
the Haleys and with the intent to facilitate flight or the commission of
The jury considered testimony from
26 witnesses and viewed about 75 exhibits. They were guided by a set of
23 jury instructions and had 33 separate verdict forms to consider.
Evidence included testimony from
the defendant, who denied having any knowledge of how the Haleys died
and explained that he was sometimes taken over by an evil force whose
purpose was to destroy all that is good.
The jury also heard from two
Topeka psychiatrists who agreed Baker was a paranoid schizophrenic but
disagreed on whether he suffered psychotic episodes in which he lost
contact with reality.
Defense psychiatrist Dr. Gilbert
Parks found Baker insane and not responsible for his acts. The state's
psychiatrist, Dr. Herbert Modlin, said Baker was sane and fully capable
of understanding the nature of his acts and that they were prohibited by
"What these two trials to me boil
down to is a battle of experts," said Suzanne James of Topeka, Nancy
Haley's daughter. "Whose expert was more compelling than the other. It
seemed very clear to me, but you don't know how it's affecting other
"I'm just really thankful to those
jurors. They said, "Maybe we aren't experts in psychiatry, but one
sounded more reasonable than the other.'
"I just feel an enormous sense of
relief that it's over and I only have to look at Tyrone Baker one more
Baker will appear back in court on
Oct. 18 for a hearing on post-trial motions and sentencing.
James sat through the trial with a
small contingent of her family members and friends and family and
friends of Ida Mae Dougherty. Dougherty was the Topeka woman Horne and
the Haleys were checking on when they first encountered Baker on Dec. 4,
The same group sat through Baker's
Shawnee County trial in June 1990 when he was convicted of killing
Dougherty, 72, and the initial kidnappings of Horne and the Haleys.
Baker is serving life plus 51
years to life in prison for the Shawnee County convictions.
Presiding juror Joseph Alonzo said
the psychiatric testimony helped the jury decide.
"I don't know if I would say they
(the jury) believed the insanity defense," Alonzo said. "We were sort of
on the borderline there, on the edge. Everybody had an issue, saying,
"Where am I really on this?' You had to sit and discuss several issues
and become comfortable."
Alonzo said jurors took several
votes before reaching their decision. None of the jurors believed Baker
was innocent, he said.
In closing arguments, Douglas
County District Attorney Jerry Wells said Baker's actions deprived the
Haleys of a death with grace, dignity and peace.
"They were slaughtered like
animals in a field," he said. "Executed. Why, why, why were these people
slaughtered like that? Executed in that field. For one very simple
reason. That man wanted to cover his tracks and conceal his crime."
Topeka attorney Pedro Irigonegaray,
the special prosecutor hired by the victims' families, told the jury
that while Baker is mentally ill, there is no evidence that he is insane
and unaccountable for his actions.
"He is a criminal," Irigonegaray
said. "He does have responsibility. He knew what he was doing. He was
afraid of the law. The law you now represent. He was afraid of the law
because he knew what he was doing was wrong."
Baker's attorney, Ron Wurtz, a
Shawnee County public defender, urged the jury to consider evidence of
eight or 10 irrational acts Baker committed and find him not guilty by
reason of insanity.
He reminded the jury that it was
the state's job to prove Baker sane beyond a reasonable doubt, not the
job of the defense to prove him insane.
"Is that proof beyond a reasonable
doubt?" Wurtz asked. "Are those grains of sugar that you've scraped
together, is that reasonable doubt? If it is, you must pick the verdict
that says not guilty by reason of insanity. That's the law."
After examining the briefs and appellate record, this
panel has determined unanimously that oral argument would not materially
assist the determination of this appeal. See Fed. R. App. P.
34(a)(2); 10th Cir. R. 34.1(G). The case is therefore ordered submitted
without oral argument.
Petitioner Tyrone Baker, a state inmate, seeks a
certificate of appealability ("COA") that would allow him to appeal from
the district court's order denying relief on his habeas petition brought
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. He also appeals from the court's order
lifting the stay in his habeas action. We have jurisdiction under 28
U.S.C. §§ 1291 and 2253(a). We conclude that the district court properly
lifted the stay. Because Mr. Baker has failed to make a "substantial
showing of the denial of a constitutional right" as required by 28 U.S.C.
§ 2253(c)(2), we deny his application for COA and dismiss the appeal.
In 1991 Mr. Baker was convicted of two counts of
first-degree murder and two counts of aggravated kidnapping in Douglas
County, Kansas, after having been previously convicted of a separate
count of first-degree murder, aggravated burglary, conspiracy to commit
aggravated burglary, and three counts of kidnapping in Shawnee County,
His convictions all arise from a series of events occurring in 1989 and
beginning in Shawnee County, where Mr. Baker murdered an elderly woman
and burglarized her home. When three of the victim's neighbors came to
check on her, Mr. Baker kidnapped them and drove them to an isolated
location in Douglas County. One of the kidnapped victims convinced Mr.
Baker to return to Shawnee County to make sure his first victim was dead.
After Mr. Baker left, she ran for help, and the other two victims, who
were elderly and infirm, tried to hide. When the victim who ran for help
returned with police officers, the other two victims were missing from
the location where Mr. Baker had left them. Their bodies were later
found three miles away, but still in Douglas County, where Mr. Baker had
moved and murdered them. The State asserted that this second moving of
the victims constituted separate kidnappings. Mr. Baker's above-described
convictions were affirmed on direct appeal.
Mr. Baker filed his federal habeas petition on April
27, 1995, raising a single issue: whether his trial and convictions for
kidnapping in Douglas County violated the Double Jeopardy Clause of the
United States Constitution. On October 17, 1997, Mr. Baker filed a
motion for a stay of his federal habeas proceeding, arguing that he was
seeking state habeas relief for the first time on additional grounds(2),
and that if no relief was granted, he may wish to amend his federal
petition to include the issues. The district court granted the stay,
noting that the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act ("AEDPA")
could potentially bar the refiling of the federal habeas action if the
court dismissed it for failure to exhaust the potential claims. See
R. Doc. 14.
The district court revisited its decision and lifted
the stay on September 20, 2001, concluding that Mr. Baker's potential
additional federal habeas claims would be barred under AEDPA because he
had failed to timely raise them after AEDPA's passage, and they asserted
new theories of relief. See R. Doc. 21, at 1-2 (citing
Woodward v. Williams, 263 F.3d 1135 (10th Cir. 2001), cert.
denied, 122 S. Ct. 1442 (2002); Duncan v. Walker, 533 U.S.
167 (2001); and United States v. Espinoza-Saenz, 235 F.3d 501,
505 (10th Cir. 2000)). The court concluded that Mr. Baker's habeas
petition was therefore ripe for decision, as a stay could not salvage
the untimely claims. We hold that the district court properly lifted the
As to the merits of his petition for COA, Mr. Baker
may make a "substantial showing of the denial of a constitutional right"
by demonstrating that the Double Jeopardy issue raised in his habeas
petition and rejected by the district court is debatable among jurists,
or that a court could resolve the issues differently, or that the
question presented deserves further proceedings. See Slack v.
McDaniel, 529 U.S. 473, 483-84 (2000). We have carefully reviewed
the record, the petition, and the applicable law. For substantially the
same reasons stated by the district court in its order filed March 29,
2002, we conclude that the Double Jeopardy issue is not debatable among
jurists, that we would not resolve the issues differently, and that the
question presented does not deserve further proceedings. Mr. Baker's "Motion
to Proffer" transcripts from separate state-court actions is DENIED. We
DENY a COA and DISMISS the appeal.
Tyrone Baker looks into a camera during his Shawnee
County murder trial.
In the foreground is legal aide Cindy McNorton.
Verne "B." Horne demonstrates how Baker held Horne
and two of her neighbors at gunpoint during Baker's June 1990 Shawnee
Lisa Pfannenstiel was sentenced to six to 15 years in
prison as part of a plea agreement following the 1989 murders.