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Indiana Dad Handed 55-Years After Murdering Son’s Friend He Accused Of Rape At Graduation Party

After pleading guilty, William J. Baker was sentenced to 55 years behind bars for fatally shooting teenager Paycin Kritlow at a graduation party in Indiana in June 2020.

By Dorian Geiger
William Baker Sentenced To 55 Years For Killing Son's Friend

An Indiana father was sentenced this week to more than five decades in prison for the murder of his son’s teenage classmate at a high school graduation party in the summer of 2020.

William J. Baker, 48, pleaded guilty to the fatal shooting of teenager Paycin Kritlow and was handed a 55-year prison term, the maximum sentence, Cincinnati television station WXIX-TV reported. He entered a guilty plea on June 10, according to court filings. 

Baker shot and killed Kritlow with a rifle in the early morning hours of July 19 during a high school graduation party at his home, according to Dearborn County Prosecutor Lynn Deddens; the party was being thrown for his son, Tyler. Hours before the fatal shooting, Kritlow and Tyler, who were high school classmates, had celebrated their graduation ceremony.

Kritlow was shot in his neck and his back, radio station WKRC reported. He was found unresponsive in the property’s driveway and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Baker was subsequently charged with murder. He later told county deputies that his 17-year-old daughter was sexually assaulted and that she had identified Kritlow as her rapist. Baker then retrieved a 30-.06 rifle from his gun cabinet and opened fire on the graduate after aiming at him using the firearm’s scope. 

“That’s the boy who just raped your niece…..let me go,” Baker reportedly was heard yelling, the Dearborn County Sheriff's Office said; his wife was said to have tried to hold him back during the incident.

Also brandishing a knife, Baker then threatened to slit his own throat with the blade, according to county authorities.

Baker’s daughter refuted his statement, telling deputies she never told her father she’d been sexually assaulted. She added she wasn’t aware of any other individuals at the social gathering who made similar statements, according to WXIX. 

Near the home’s shed, authorities said they seized a box of 30-.06 caliber ammunition, which included one spent rifle shell, while executing a search warrant at Baker’s residence. According to Deddens, Baker later gave detectives a series of “pretty damning statements” during a filmed video interview, according to radio station WSCH.

Prior to Baker’s sentencing, he was required by the court to undergo a mental competency exam.

Kritlow was born in Greensburg, Indiana, according to his obituary; he lived in Moores Hill at the time of his death.

“He was a car buff, especially tuner cars,” his obituary stated. “He was a gamer and he loved to fish. He enjoyed people and loved hanging out with friends. Paycin was the class clown, he loved to joke around. He was also very kind-hearted. He loved animals, especially reptiles, he even owned a Gecko.”

Baker will be credited for 613 days for time already served during trial proceedings, officials said.

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