Baird was charged with 24 counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child and was tried by a jury Feb. 14, 2008, in the 115th District Court in Gilmer with Judge Lauren Parish presiding. Baird entered guilty pleas on five counts and submitted his fate on punishment to an Upshur County Jury.
The jury assessed a life sentence and submitted his fate on punishment to an Upshur County jury. The jury assessed a life sentence and $10,000 fine on each count. District Attorney Billy Byrd tried the case to the jury.
On appeal, Baird urged the court to find that the sentence was disproportionate to the crime.
Evidence at trial indicated that Baird had committed other sexual assaults prior to the cases charged, including one that occurred while he was on active duty in the Navy several years prior.
Assistant Upshur County District Attorney Robert Cole Jr., a retired Air Force Judge Advocate, pointed out to the Court of Appeals that Baird was fortunate the Navy had not learned of the crime, because the punishment under the Uniform Code of Military Justice is death or any other such punishment the Court Martial decides.
Justice Bailey Moseley, writing for the Court of Appeals, held that Baird failed to preserve any error regarding an allegation of disproportionate sentencing for appellate review.
“We are satisfied that the jury verdict and affirmation from the Court of Appeals are a positive outcome to provide some measure of comfort to the victim’s family,” Byrd said.