Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Cookeville Woman's Murder Solved


A Jackson County man has been indicted in the death of a Cookeville woman, whose burned body was found inside the rubble of her home on Saturday. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation today arrested the man after he was indicted by the Putnam County Grand Jury on murder charges. 30-year-old Steven Baker of 195 Harve Henson Lane, Gainesboro, was indicted on one count of first degree murder, one count of felony murder, one count of aggravated robbery, one count of arson and one count of tampering with evidence. On January 9, 54-year-old Jennifer Smith, of 5201 Buck Mountain Road, Cookeville, was found dead in her burned home. The TBI along with the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office and the State Bomb and Arson unit worked the investigation. Authorities say Baker was already in jail on unrelated charges when he was served with the additional indictments. He is now being held on a $500,000 bond, pending his court appearance. Investigators have not yet released any details as to the circumstances of the crime or what led them to their suspect, although Baker had been arrested on Saturday in connection with the theft of a Kawasaki dirt bike in December. He was jailed, and his bond was set at $10,000. On Monday, Putnam County Sheriff's Detective Randy Roland went to Baker's jail cell and served him with the grand jury indictments charging him with several counts of selling hydromorphone, a pain medication. The indictments allege that Baker sold and delivered the substance on at least three occasion in 2009. He is charged with three counts of selling the drug, three counts of delivering it, and one count of possessing the drug "with intent to sell and deliver." His total bond on the drug charges was set at $70,000. He was in General Sessions Court on Monday on the theft charge, and the Public Defender was appointed to represent him. Putnam jail records list his address as Harve Henson Lane, Gainesboro, but the arrest report filled out by Detective Roland lists his home address as 5171 Buck Mountain Road -- just down the road from the victim.