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Inside the Evidence: Victor father shot and killed in 1979

July 12, 2019 11:36 PM

VICTOR, N.Y. (WHEC) — Forty years ago, a father in Victor was shot three times in the head. It's a case that rattled the village and it's never been solved.

The Ontario County Sheriff's Office started looking over all cold cases in January when Sheriff Kevin Henderson took over. In this case, a father was shot and killed in his own home. Henderson says the killer is still out there. 

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"He was sitting in a living room chair at the time," Henderson said. 

The victim: Jerry Baker. He was 34-years-old. 

"The shooter came up behind him," Henderson explained. 

"It was apparently an execution-style killing," added Lt. Greg Shaffer. "He was shot once behind the right ear then a pillow was placed over his head and two more shots through the pillow into his head." 

News10NBC obtained exclusive pictures from the crime scene never released before. 

"It appeared to be a hit, and the house was likely staged to look like a routine burglary," Shaffer said. 

Jerry lived in a house on Tareyton Drive in the Village of Victor with his teen daughter Debbie. The night he was killed Debbie was babysitting at her aunt's house. 

"There was a custody battle that was going on right at the time of the homicide," Shaffer said. 

But it wasn't over Debbie, the daughter. The day Jerry was found dead, investigators say he was due to testify in a civil hearing over custody of his wife. 

His wife Linda suffered a traumatic brain injury after a fall at the Strasenburgh Planetarium in Rochester a year and a half earlier. Jerry worked there as a senior technician. 

"Rumor at the time was there was going to be a large settlement due to her injury," Henderson said. 

Investigators say Linda's parents were fighting Jerry for custody of their daughter. They told News10NBC whoever had custody believed they had the potential to get millions from a civil lawsuit.

"The civil case over custody of Linda was due to end the next day after Jerry's testimony," Shaffer said.

However, Jerry never made it to court because he was killed. With Jerry dead, investigators say Linda's parents ended up getting custody, but there was no big payout from a lawsuit. Investigators say the family only got a small stipend each month from an insurance company.

Over the years, investigators have had theories on who is responsible, but say the district attorney did not believe it was enough to prosecute at the time.

To this day, no one has been charged in connection with the death of Baker. It's possible the pillow used in the crime could solve the case. 

"There's a possibility DNA could be collected off the pillow of whoever grabbed it at the time," Investigator John Kesel said. 

It's being sent to the State Police Crime Lab in Albany for testing. 

"We're looking for closure on this case," Henderson said. "We'd like to close this case with a definitive what happened."

News10NBC reached out to multiple family members of the victim. None of them got back to us except Jerry's daughter Debbie. She says she's still waiting for justice and wants to know who killed her father and why. 

Investigators say all other family members have refused to talk with them. 

If you have any information, call the Ontario County Sheriff's Office at (585) 396-4638. 

Click here to watch the report that aired on News10NBC the day Jerry was found dead in 1979. 

Credits

Nikki Rudd

Copyright 2019 - WHEC-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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