Judge spares Baer death penalty, resentences killer to life in prison

A man convicted of killing a central Indiana woman and her 4-year-old daughter has been sentenced to life in prison after a federal appeals court threw out his death sentence.

Madison Circuit Judge Mark Dudley sentenced 47-year-old Fredrick Baer of Indianapolis on Thursday to two terms of life without parole for the 2004 slayings of Cory Clark and her 4-year-old daughter Jenna Clark at their home near Lapel, about 25 miles northeast of Indianapolis.

A three-judge panel of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals threw out Baer’s death sentence in January 2018, ruling he had received ineffective legal counsel. Despite the “atrocious” nature of Baer’s crimes, the 7th Circuit reversed his death sentence in a habeas petition, finding prosecutorial misconduct and misleading jury instructions likely influenced the jury’s decision to sentence him to death.

The Herald-Bulletin of Anderson reported Baer admitted to the crimes at the time of his 2005 trial.

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