Dietrich Baker Seeks to Withdraw Guilty Plea in James Sherrod Murder

Dietrich Baker was scheduled to be sentenced Friday in connection with the shooting death of 22-year-old James Ray Sherrod. But before reading sentencing terms, Judge Herbert Dixon asked Baker if he wanted to speak to the court. Baker then stood and said that he no longer wanted to plead guilty.

There is a lot more to this case than people think,” Baker said. “There’s other witnesses that saw different things. There’s more to this case than me and my lawyer can bring to the table.”

Sherrod was shot April 28, 2012, in the 700 block of Kenilworth Terrace Northeast; he later died at the hospital.

Baker was arrested two days after the murder and waived his right to a preliminary hearing; a grand jury indicted him in January on charges of first-degree murder and several weapons offenses.

Baker pleaded guilty to second-degree murder while armed in April. At that time, attorneys in the case agreed that 23 years in prison was an appropriate sentence.

Because Baker said Friday that he no longer wants to plead guilty, his sentencing is postponed, and a status hearing is scheduled for October 4.

According to plea documents in the case, around 1:40 p.m. on April 28, 2012, Sherrod and Baker were standing together near a bus stop in the 700 block of Kenilworth Terrace NE when Baker suddenly pulled out a handgun and shot Sherrod in the head, causing him to fall. Baker then stood over Sherrod and shot him three more times in the body.

Prosecutors have not indicated what the motive for the shooting may have been, but court documents say that Sherrod was unarmed, and that he and Baker had not engaged in any type of argument prior to the shooting. Baker, though, said Friday that Sherrod had “offended” him. and his defense attorney, Eugene Ohm, argued that Baker was high on PCP at the time of the incident.

Prosecutors, though, denied any knowledge of the crime being drug related.

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