Monday, January 25, 2021

Mug Shot Monday

Did anyone catch Dateline's "Night of the Summer Solstice" on Friday? It sure put some of my liberal beliefs to the test. Keep reading HERE.

Ron Baker

The episode was about the brutal 1990 murder of Ron Baker, 21-year-old ULCA astrophysics major, whose body was found stabbed to death the day after the summer solstice in a train tunnel at Chatsworth Park. After many stops and starts -- including an oh-so-'90s detour into everyone believing the killing was related to a satanic cult (a "sacrifice") -- his two roommates, Nathaniel Blalock and Duncan Martinez, were eventually convicted of his first-degree murder. 

Duncan Martinez

Nathaniel Blalock

Although Martinez got Blalock to confess to the actual stabbing on a secretly recorded line, prosecutors always believed both men were equally culpable. (They both lured Baker to the desolate loaction and Martinez admitted that he begged Blalock to slit their roommate's throat so he wouldn't suffer any longer than necessary.) Martinez was offered a plea that would have given him something like 12 years in jail on second-degree murder, but he refused the offer and went to trial -- and was convicted of the same crime as Blalock: First-degree murder and life without parole.

But in 2020 Gov. Gavin Newsom commuted both of their sentences -- as well as the sentences of thousands of other inmates with exemplary records in prison -- and Martinez was recently approved for release by the Parole Board. (Blalock missed the first deadline but is said to be up for parole soon.)

Apparently the Baker family has one more chance to appeal the Parole Board's ruling, but I can only imagine the pain of being told your loved one's killer is being locked up for life only to find out he may be sprung at age 50. This brand of justice is probably the only part of living in Europe or Canada that doesn't appeal to me.


Warren said...

What was the motive?

JP Aragon said...

No he should not be released for such a cold blooded murder. And did they ever give a reason for killing their room mate? Is there some missing homophobic angle?

Kenneth M. Walsh said...

I didn't get the "motive" -- something about imitating a kidnapping they saw on "Dragnet."

joepelpro said...

Yes it was a kidnapping plot gone wrong.

Kenneth M. Walsh said...

@Joeppelpro: I think that's the best way to describe it. But didn't they only make the "ransom" calls to throw the police off their scent? How could they possibly release the guy who, of course, would know exactly who "kidnapped" him?

joepelpro said...

Not sure how they were planning to get away with the "kidnapping" - since the victim knew both of the killers. Martinez and Baker were close before Blalock entered the scene. Is this a case of bromance gone wrong?

Prancy Grace said...

The ransom request was a ruse. They planned to kill him before even making the call.

Unknown said...

Never let them out!
What happened to "truth in sentencing?"