Home Washington Press Releases 2010 Terrence Barnett Sentenced in 1999 Murder of Yolanda Baker
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Terrence Barnett Sentenced in 1999 Murder of Yolanda Baker

U.S. Attorney’s Office June 18, 2010
  • District of Columbia (202) 252-6933

Terrence Barnett, age 45, formerly of 209 Savannah Street, Southeast, Washington, D.C., was sentenced today by the Honorable Michael L. Rankin of the D.C. Superior Court in connection with the August 1, 1999 murder of his wife and the mother of his children, Yolanda Baker, announced United States Attorney Ronald C. Machen, Jr. Mr. Barnett received the statutory maximum sentence of 20 years to life imprisonment.

The government’s evidence at trial showed that on Wednesday, August 4, 1999, Deon Haynes-Parker reported that her sister Yolanda Baker was missing, along with her car, a 1999 Toyota Corolla. Ms. Baker had been living at 408 44th Street, NE, with the father of her twin children, Terrence Barnett, with whom she had a long history of domestic violence. Ms. Baker was last seen on Saturday, July 31, 1999, at a family reunion in Prince George’s County. The party was attended by Ms. Baker, the defendant, and their mutual friends. At the party’s end, Ms. Baker and Mr. Barnett left together at 3:00 a.m. Yolanda Baker was driving her 1999 Toyota Corolla. She was never seen or heard from again. Family suspicions became aroused after Ms. Baker failed to retrieve her children from the babysitter’s house. Over the course of the next few days, from August 2, 1999, until Ms. Baker was reported missing by her family on August 4, 1999, Terrence Barnett gave a series of conflicting accounts as to Yolanda Baker’s location, never expressed any concern as to her whereabouts, and never contacted the police to report her missing. Thereafter, on Sunday, August 8, 1999, Ms. Baker’s Toyota Corolla was discovered in the alley behind 773B 18th Street, NE. After members of the Metropolitan Police Department gained entry to the vehicle, they immediately smelled a very foul odor emanating from the trunk. Blood was immediately visible on the trunk’s carpet and in the spare tire wheel well. The blood was later matched to the DNA of Yolanda Baker. A subsequent search of Ms. Baker’s home revealed that the carpet had been removed from the master bedroom and that blood spatter, which was linked through DNA testing to blood of Ms. Baker and Mr. Barnett was apparent on the walls, ceiling and floor and on the shirt that the defendant was wearing on the last night of Yolanda’s life. Ms. Baker’s body has never been found.

In announcing today’s sentence, U.S. Attorney Machen commended several officers of the Metropolitan Police Department, including Detectives Anthony Brigidini, Kenneth “Todd” Williams, retired detectives Willard “Smokey” Ward, Pierre Mitchell, McKinley Williams and Ray Crawford, and Mobile Crime Technicians James and John Holder, Grant Greenwalt and Jay Gregory. He also commended multiple agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, who participated in the investigation of this case and testified at trial. U.S. Attorney Machen also praised Assistant United States Attorney John Cummings, Cory Chandler from the Office of the Attorney General, and Anne Phillips of the D.C. Superior Court, who assisted with researching and testifying about the instances of domestic violence in the case. Finally, he thanked U.S. Attorney’s Office paralegal Debra Joyner, intel specialist Larry Grasso, Victim/Witness Advocate Marcia Rinker, and AUSA Michael Ambrosino, who assisted with trial; and Assistant United States Attorney Amanda Haines, who investigated and prosecuted the case.

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