Randy Baker had already been through hard times and was fighting for his life when he was shot dead just inside his Greeley, Colorado home in June 2017. The 59-year-old halfway house counselor had spent years doing drugs before a stint in jail, then rehab set him on the straight and narrow. He emerged from his trials with a heart condition and was physically weak, with trouble staying awake, after a recent surgery.
But someone close to Baker wanted him dead for their own gain, according to “In Ice Cold Blood” on Oxygen.
As police pored over the scene for clues, his wife, Kelly, 48, and sister Carol, 63, held each other and cried outside the home. Randy’s wallet, car and Harley Davidson motorcycle were all missing. At a glance, the state of his body suggested a fall, authorities told “In Ice Cold Blood,” but the missing items pointed to a possible homicide, so an autopsy was performed.
The medical examiner found two bullet wounds in Randy; one from a .22 behind the ear and from a .45 in an upper shoulder.
Through interviewing Kelly, police learned that the couple’s relationship had recently soured. Kelly was feeling more like a caretaker than a wife and she admitted that she had begun seeing a close friend romantically. She even allowed that her husband had a pair of life insurance policies totaling maybe $7,000.
Although the marital situation raised investigators’ eyebrows, Kelly had a verifiable alibi and the insurance payouts didn’t sound high enough to rise to the level of motive. Carol, the sister, said that she hadn’t seen Randy personally in some time, but that she had been taking care of some things at the house for him and Kelly. She claimed to have seen a suspicious “woodsy” looking man in the neighborhood the day of Randy’s murder and suggested that police investigate.
Their next tip, however, led them to Randy’s Pontiac. It was sitting, abandoned in a yard in downtown Greeley. The license plate was gone and it looked like someone had tried to wipe the whole thing of prints. Then, a suspect in an unrelated case started talking about a car involved in another crime that some people were trying to offload through him.
Police questioned a number of people in connection with the car until they made a stunning connection: The person originally trying to sell the car was none other than Carol Baker. Investigators got an inkling of what was going on but wanted to gather more ammunition before going after Randy’s sister. They questioned around her, learning that the siblings had barely any relationship at all; Carol allegedly held a longstanding resentment of Randy.
Family and friends of Randy disliked Carol too, authorities told “In Ice Cold Blood.” They described her as a “manipulator,” “crazy” and “kind of a bitch.” Poring over phone records, investigators came upon a shockingly close relationship between Carol and Kelly, with tens of thousands of text messages. It was almost like they were in love.
Kelly certainly was not in love with Randy anymore, according to investigators. After his surgery, she texted Carol, grousing that “the a****le survived.”
More disturbingly, they got a look at the actual life insurance policies Kelly stood to benefit from: They totaled more than $130,000. There was also $225,000 in equity in the couple’s home, which Kelly had allegedly been hounding Randy to sell.
One text exchange got investigators’ attention: Carol sent Kelly a phone number and told her to put it in her phone under “Sonia.” The number turned out to be Carol’s son, Kelly Raisely, 38. He had previously been charged with attempted murder and had spent much of his life in and out of prison.
Both women had been talking with Raisely the day before the murder, with their phones pinging off towers in and around Greeley. This was likely a murder plot unfolding, detectives guessed.
Kelly had suggested to investigators that a drug dealer she was familiar with might have killed Randy. Although detectives were shocked that she would go so far as to frame someone else, they decided to use it to their advantage, and called her in to look at mugshots.
Kelly pointed to the No. 2 mugshot and told detectives that she was “100 percent” sure. So, the authorities sprang their trap on Carol, asking her to come down next and look at the mugs. They were fairly sure that Kelly would give her sister-in-law the heads-up — and she did.
When Carol arrived at the station, detectives swapped out the No. 2 photo for her own son, Raisely.
“You could have heard a pin drop,” Det. Mike Prill told producers.
Believing that Kelly had sold her out, Carol folded. She confirmed that Kelly had wanted Randy dead, claiming he told her, “He’d never leave her alone.” She admitted to playing facilitator in the plot, in which Raisely would take out Randy in exchange for $10,000 and the motorcycle.
“There were an overwhelming number of lies told by Carol and Kelly, but for once in their lives, someone else treated them like puppets, and we were the puppet masters,” Greeley Police Officer Doug Medhurst told producers.
Raisely and Carol took plea deals for a life sentence and 30 years, respectively. Kelly, however, did not take a plea, and went to trial in May 2019. On the stand, Raisely backed off from implicating the two women, for fear of being identified as a snitch in the gang world, investigators said. Still, the case for Kelly being the mastermind was strong enough that a jury convicted her after an hour of deliberations. She was sentenced to life without parole.
“What I really think is, you just never know what someone else is capable of — the private thoughts that might be brewing in someone else,” Deputy District Attorney Anthea Carrasco said.
For more on Randy Baker’s murder and the twisted family plot against him, watch “In Ice Cold Blood” at Oxygen.com and airing Thursdays at 9/8c.
Crime Time is your destination for true crime stories from around the world, breaking crime news, and information about Oxygen's original true crime shows and documentaries. Sign up for our Crime Time Newsletter and subscribe to our true crime podcast Martinis & Murder for all the best true crime content.