Thursday, September 25, 1997
Threats alleged in Doan case
$500,000 bond set on cover-up suspect

BY CHRISTINE WOLFF
The Cincinnati Enquirer

WILMINGTON, Ohio - Alleged threats to witnesses by Tracey Baker, a suspect in the Carrie Culberson case, convinced a judge Wednesday it shouldn't be easy for Mr. Baker to leave jail.

TRacey Baker
Tracey Baker
Bond was set at $500,000 for Mr. Baker, charged with helping to hide Ms. Culberson's body. Mr. Baker, 33, of Blanchester, Ohio - half brother of Vincent Doan, who was convicted or murdering Ms. Culberson - remained in the Clinton County Jail on Wednesday.


Mr. Baker allegedly tried to coerce a witness moments before the witness testified Sept. 15 to a grand jury that indicted him, and ran from police and tried to scale a fence when confronted Monday in Florence, said Rick Moyer, an assistant prosecutor with Clinton County.

There also have been threats against witnesses from Mr. Baker and his relatives, Mr. Moyer said.

''We have sworn testimony that (Tracey Baker) said no man, woman or child is safe because of the conviction of his brother in this case.

''When Tracey Baker realized he couldn't influence a witness, he left town, and when he saw police, he ran,'' Mr. Moyer said.


Judge William McCracken of Clinton County Common Pleas Court set the bond Mr. Moyer requested.

Mr. Baker pleaded not guilty Wednesday to two counts of obstructing justice, one count of tampering with evidence and one count of gross abuse of a corpse.

Ms. Culberson, 22, of Blanchester, disappeared Aug. 29, 1996, after witnesses saw Mr. Doan, her former boyfriend, hitting her. Her body has not been found. Mr. Doan, convicted Aug. 7 in her kidnapping and murder, is awaiting sentencing.

Lawrence Baker - father of Tracey Baker and Mr. Doan - denied his family has threatened witnesses. Lawrence Baker, 53, of
Blanchester, out of jail on a $105,000 bond, also faces charges of obstructing justice and tampering with evidence in the case.

''We've gotten threats every day, and the county isn't doing nothing about them,'' Lawrence Baker said. ''I don't know why (Tracey) ran, but look at what they did to Vince.''

Blanchester Police Chief Richard Payton, now suspended without pay, also was indicted on charges of obstructing justice and dereliction of duty for his handling of the Culberson case.

Village council is to meet today with the Ohio Association of Retired Police Chiefs to see whether the group can provide a temporary chief.