Tuesday, September 16, 1997
Doan's father charged
Family: Brother also indicted in Culberson case

The Cincinnati Enquirer

WILMINGTON, Ohio - Lawrence Baker, father of convicted killer Vincent Doan, was arrested Monday after a Clinton County jury indicted him in the Carrie Culberson murder case. Family members said another of Mr. Baker's sons also was indicted.

The Blanchester man, 53, faces two counts of obstructing justice and one count of tampering with evidence, Sheriff Ralph Fizer said. He is to be arraigned at 10 a.m. Sept. 24.

During Mr. Doan's monthlong trial this summer, County Prosecutor William Peelle suggested that Mr. Doan and his family covered up the kidnapping and murder of Ms. Culberson. She disappeared Aug. 28, 1996. Her body and her car have not been found.

Mr. Doan, 25, of Blanchester, was convicted Aug. 7.

Mr. Baker denies all charges, said Jon Paul Rion, one of Mr. Doan's attorneys, who was summoned by the Baker family. Mr. Baker was arrested about 5 p.m. at his home. Mr. Rion said the firm is researching whether it can represent Mr. Baker and Mr. Doan.

"Vince is in tears over this," Mr. Rion said. "He doesn't want his father to go through all of this."

Mr. Rion said the charges allege that Mr. Baker allowed his son to use his pickup, probably to hide Ms. Culberson's body.

"The charges were vague and ambiguous," Mr. Rion said. "No facts were given."

He called the indictments an abuse of the grand jury process. Duane Baker, a half brother of Mr. Doan, said Clinton County sheriff's deputies told him they had an indictment for Duane's brother, Tracey Baker, 33, another half brother of Mr. Doan.

Mr. Rion said he, too, suspects that Tracey Baker has been indicted. The Baker family said Tracey, an over-the-road trucker, left on a trip Monday morning and isn't expected back for several days.

"I just think it's a travesty and a waste of taxpayers' money when there's no information to get," said Betty Baker, Lawrence Baker's wife and mother of the Baker brothers. "Vincent doesn't know anything. Lawrence doesn't know anything, and neither does Tracey."

The grand jury returned an 11-count indictment Monday, Mr. Peelle said. "The grand jury heard 12 witnesses and gave at least one indictment. The 11 charges are against one or more persons." He declined to name people charged in the indictment until arrests are made.

But the grand jury's report to Judge William B. McCracken, of Clinton County Common Pleas Court, indicated jurors had indicted everyone under investigation.

Debbie Culberson, Carrie's mother, said she hopes the arrest of Mr. Doan's father will help lead to the discovery of Carrie's body.

"There won't be any closure until I find Carrie," she said. "I hope that one of them does have a bit of a conscience and will tell."

In a briefing with reporters, Sheriff Fizer expressed doubt that more arrests would be made Monday night unless others indicted surrendered to police.

Prosecutors suspect the Bakers of helping Mr. Doan cover up the crime and dispose of the body. During interviews immediately after the trial, Tracey and Lawrence Baker professed their innocence, along with Mr. Doan's.

Sources last week told The Enquirer that Blanchester Police Chief Richard Payton also was being investigated by the grand jury. Sources close to the investigation said that Chief Payton had nothing to do with Ms. Culberson's kidnapping and killing, but that there is "evidence that (Chief Payton) acted in a way that was to the advantage of the Bakers and Vincent Doan."

Chief Payton said last week he had done nothing wrong.

Six of the dozen people who testified Monday also testified in Mr. Doan's trial. They include Debbie Culberson and Lori Baker - a key prosecution witness who testified she saw Mr. Doan "covered in blood" the same morning Ms. Culberson was kidnapped and killed.