Disturbing case comes to an end
Craig man sentenced in former solicitation case
December 31, 2008
These are some of the words attorneys, a judge and a potential victim used Tuesday afternoon to describe allegations made against an 18-year-old Craig man who plotted to kill two people and attempted to persuade a minor to help him.
William Kurtis Baird, currently in custody at the Moffat County Jail, agreed to a plea deal in November with the 14th Judicial District Attorney’s Office. He appeared Tuesday in Moffat County District Court for a sentencing hearing before Judge Shelley Hill.
Baird had pleaded guilty to contributing to the delinquency of a minor, a Class 4 felony.
In exchange, the District Attorney’s Office dismissed a solicitation to commit murder charge, a Class 2 felony.
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He was sentenced to three years’ community corrections, the same recommendation made in a pre-sentencing report.
As deputy district attorney Jeremy Snow pointed out Tuesday in court, the Baird case was not a “run of the mill” contributing to the delinquency of a minor conviction.
Circumstances of the case explain his statement.
Baird was arrested in September after a joint investigation between the Craig Police Department and the All Crimes Enforcement Team. Authorities contend Baird tried coaxing a 17-year-old to help him shoot and kill two men, a 56-year-old man and his 18-year-old son.
The minor tipped authorities to Baird.
Baird, authorities learned, wrote out a “hit list” of his two targeted victims, a list of equipment needed – including a sniper rifle and a pistol with a silencer – and an escape route.
During an interview with investigators, Baird essentially confessed to the plot to kill the two men. From there, according to an arrest affidavit, the case turned more unusual.
Baird told investigators he’d killed before, at the behest of the U.S. government.
He said, according to the affidavit, that he and his brother had operated a bounty hunting business called “Git-R-Done, Got-R-Dead,” and that he was aware of a covert military installation on Black Mountain called Area 48.
Baird’s competency was not challenged during the case, though the issue was raised by both attorneys Tuesday.
In his address to the court, Snow acknowledged that Baird is “troubled at the very least.” Still, the defendant “took some steps down the path to a horrendous crime.”
He recommended Hill sentence Baird to six years of community corrections, which he would serve at Correctional Alternative Placement Services in Craig.
Baird’s attorney, public defender Sheryl Uhlmann, told the court her client needs mental health treatment. She said his statements to investigators “appear to be delusional.”
She said her client, who didn’t graduate high school, lacked the necessary “sophistication” to carry out the murders. Items he had written out on the list, including the weapons, were never acquired, she added.
“Mr. Baird did not have the cognitive ability : to complete this offense,” Uhlmann said, describing Baird as a “young man who needs treatment, help and support.”
She asked the court to sentence Baird to probation, and said his parents, who live in Routt County and were in court Tuesday, agreed to supervise him and ensure he gets the help he needs.
Snow countered Uhlmann’s claim of Baird lacking the “sophistication” necessary to commit the murders. One look at the list was enough to convince him, he said.
“I didn’t know half of these things,” said Snow, adding that he’s a hunter and a fan of military history, “until I was involved in this case.”
Judge Hill also heard from one of the targeted victims, the 56-year-old man.
“I hope he realizes what’s he done is wrong,” the man said, adding that he wants Baird to receive mental help.
“I sure don’t want him around my house or any place in the vicinity.”
Baird, wearing county jail blues, addressed the judge before she handed down sentencing.
“I would like to apologize to the court for what I’ve done,” said Baird, who’s been in custody for 111 days.
“I have learned : that I won’t ever do this again.”
Hill was blunt with Baird. She called the case “very frightening,” and said it was “way too serious” for probation.
The judge complied with a recommendation in Baird’s pre-sentencing report and sentenced him to three years’ at CAPS, with credit for time already served.
“I’m really hopeful you’ll follow all the terms and conditions,” Hill said. She warned that any infraction of those terms and conditions would entail her “signing a piece of paper and you’re off to (prison).”
The judge also said she would research the legality of instituting a permanent protection order banning Baird from having any contact with the two potential victims.