by: Lee Stoll Updated:Whidbey Island, Wash. —
The family of a woman murdered by her husband said she never knew he was a sex offender with a secret life. Robert Baker was sentenced today for killing his wife Kathie in their South Whidbey Island home.
Kathie's relatives said the pair never should have met. "We don't understand how there can be so much evil in one person like you," Melody Hill told the court as Robert Baker was sentenced for killing her sister-in-law.
Baker bashed Kathie's head then strangled her as she slept in their Greenbank home last year. He wrapped her body in a tarp and dumped her in the yard, where detectives found her body a few days later. Officers believe Baker killed Kathie because his girlfriend was coming for a visit. The other woman thought the couple was separated. "I think he had these other plans for a long time. I don't believe it was a spur of the moment thing," said David Hill, Kathie's brother.
Baker met Kathie, his fourth wife, working in Antarctica. Kathie was a meteorologist; Robert worked for a defense contractor. But Baker—a convicted felon—never should have been hired. In 1992, he was sentenced to five years in prison for molesting a relative in California.
"It's been very difficult to understand how he could manipulate and how he could ever arrive where he came to be in Kathie's life," said Jami Hill, Kathie's niece.
Judge Alan Hancock went above the standard sentencing range and gave Baker 52 years in prison—believing Kathie didn't have a chance to defend herself against the man who lied his way into her life. "It is difficult to understand how any person could do what he did," said Judge Hancock.
Detectives said Baker never had to register as a sex offender, so the felony conviction never showed up in a background check. Kathie's family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit.