Somerset man sentenced for striking woman with a rifle will stay in prison

A Somerset Township man’s bid to change the outcome of his sentencing for domestic violence that involved striking a woman in the face with a rifle was denied by the state Superior Court.

Telford Baker, 28, berated, threw household items at, beat, squeezed, threatened and finally struck the victim in the face with a hunting rifle, causing a broken nose and concussion, according to court documents.

Pennsylvania State Police stated in court documents that when they arrived at a residence in response to a 911 call on June 6, 2021, no one was there. According to court documents, police saw drops of fresh blood outside on the porch and steps of the residence, a partially open front door and blood stains throughout the place.

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The woman had run to the nearby UPMC Somerset Emergency Room for help for her injuries and Baker had fled, police said.

At the hospital, “She had a large amount of blood coming from her nose and forehead” and she had “visible bruising on her face, forehead and arms,” according to a police report.

Following a jury trial on Oct. 14, 2021, Baker was convicted by a jury of aggravated assault, simple assault, recklessly endangering another person, terroristic threat, and 16 counts of witness intimidation.

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He was sentenced on Jan. 6, 2022, to seven to 15 years in state prison.

Baker appealed the sentencing to the Pennsylvania Superior Court, the state appellant court for criminal cases. On Thursday, the Superior Court filed its decision affirming the case’s resolution in the Somerset County Court of Common Pleas, commonly called the trial court.

Since taking over the role as the county’s highest law enforcement officer, acting District Attorney Molly Metzgar has emphasized her office’s “strong stance” on domestic violence cases.

“I am especially proud of the incredibly brave victim in this case,” she said. “We could not have achieved and upheld this verdict without her.”

Metzgar commended the Pennsylvania State Police for the rapid response of the troopers “who ensured the safety of this victim not only that night, but for years to come,” she said.

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In 2019, in another criminal case, Baker was sentenced to one month to 18 months in the Somerset County Jail followed by one year of supervised probation for unlawfully killing several deer in one case and for disorderly conduct, engaging in fighting, along with several summary counts in another case. In the assault case, Baker was sentenced for his involvement in a physical altercation with a man at a house party in Boswell on July 24, 2017. The other man had minor injuries to his eye, forehead and nose, and was treated at a local hospital, according to court documents.

This article originally appeared on The Daily American: Striking a woman in the face with a rifle led to sentence that sticks

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