A 32-year-old man was arrested Thursday on charges of killing his grandmother in Laguna Niguel five years ago and soliciting the murder of a witness.
Michael Wesley Baker, arrested in Santa Clara County, was being held on $1 million bail, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office. Baker was charged with murder and three counts of solicitation to commit murder.
He also faces sentencing enhancement allegations for prior convictions for possession of methamphetamine, domestic violence and terrorist threats.
Baker is accused of killing his 82-year-old grandmother, Sara Mowrey, in her Laguna Niguel home about 9 p.m., Jan. 13, 2009, according to prosecutors.
A motive for the killing was not immediately released.
On the morning of Jan. 14, 2009, Baker was allegedly trying to dump the body in a trash bin of an apartment complex when he was confronted by an acquaintance, prosecutors allege. The witness never reported it to authorities.
Mowrey’s son, William Warren Baker, reported his mother missing, touching off a massive search in Orange County, but authorities never found the body.
William Baker’s report to authorities touched off an investigation of him that led to his conviction in a Ponzi scheme and for cashing in his missing mother’s Social Security checks. William Baker pleaded guilty in May 2011 to stealing about $922,000 from at least 10 victims of the Ponzi scheme and was sentenced three years ago to 10 years behind bars. Baker remains incarcerated in Chino.
Michael Baker, behind bars on unrelated charges last year, allegedly solicited several people, including undercover Orange County sheriff’s deputies, to kill the acquaintance who saw him allegedly trying to dump the body, prosecutors said.
— City News Service
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