Trial begins for Lori Baker murder suspect


Thomas Fox

The trial for the man accused of killing Oakdale resident Lori Christine Baker began last week.

Prosecutors have alleged Thomas Fox stabbed 39-year-old Baker to death in her Oakdale Village Apartment and then made cash withdrawals using her debit card. During opening statements, Fox's defense attorney reportedly told jurors that Fox wasn't in the apartment at the time of her murder.

Baker had worked as a nanny for the same family for nine years, and her employer went to check on her when she didn't show up for work on the morning of Dec. 28, 2011. Baker's body was found under a blanket surrounded by blood on her bedroom floor, according to a court affidavit.

Fox, 46, was arrested the next day at a Greyhound bus station in Minneapolis with a ticket to leave the state. He was charged in April 2012 with first-degree premeditated murder and first-degree intentional murder during the course of an aggravated robbery.

A 14-member jury listened to opening statements from the prosecution and defense on Friday, May 24, in Washington County District Court.

Prosecutors called their first witnesses to the stand, including Baker's brother, Scott Baker.

He described his sister as a family-oriented person who loved children.

"Everything she did seemed to center around kids," he said.

Scott Baker added that his sister always seemed to have a smile on her face and was active in church activities.

Prosecutors also called to the stand Tammy Gipson, who said she and Fox were acquaintances. Gipson testified that Fox had wanted to date her in the past, but that she'd spurned his overtures.

Gipson told the court that at 11:45 p.m. Dec. 27, 2011, Fox showed up at her St. Paul home and once again wanted to start up a romantic relationship. Gipson said Fox told her that he had gotten rid of his girlfriend.

Gipson said after hearing about Lori Baker's murder from news reports, she went to the Oakdale Police Department on Dec. 30 and told them what Fox said to her on Dec. 27.

The trial was scheduled to resume Tuesday, May 28.

-Alex Holmquist

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