RALEIGH — In a courtroom packed with friends and family of both the defendant and the victim, Randy Mose Baker pleaded guilty Monday to a lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter after facing first-degree murder charges in the stabbing death of a Wake Forest man enraged about a former girlfriend.
Baker, 46, of Youngsville, was sentenced by visiting Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson to up to 65 months in prison for the June 2007 stabbing death of Ernest John Bradshaw IV, 33, of Wake Forest.
Baker also benefited from the support of someone who was not in the courtroom: a Wake County inmate who had spent the past nine months locked up with Baker.
Baker's attorney, Brad Bannon, of Raleigh, stood before Hudson and read a letter of support from the inmate.
"Randy is very remorseful, naturally good-hearted and has helped the other inmates," Bannon read aloud in court. "He's the most honest guy here, including the staff."
The court also heard from Bradshaw's family, who lamented that the slain man's 12-year-old daughter learned of her father's death while visiting him from Georgia on Father's Day weekend.
"He was looking forward to spending that time with his daughter," Bradshaw's father said in court. "It don't seem right."
Wake Forest police said Baker fatally stabbed Bradshaw on June 15. The fatal confrontation took place when Bradshaw showed up late that night at the East Wait Avenue home of his former girlfriend.
According to court testimony Monday, Bradshaw had called the woman that day and asked to see her, but she refused, saying she was not feeling well. Bradshaw later saw her at a bar with friends, including Baker, and became enraged.
Court testimony Monday indicated that the woman and her friends,including Baker, went back to her home that evening and continued to socialize while drinking beer. During that time, Bradshaw repeatedly threatened the woman with profanity-laced phone calls to her home. Starting at 7:30 p.m., Bradshaw continued calling the woman every eight minutes, police estimated, with the last call coming at 11:30 p.m.
Bradshaw then showed up at the woman's home and knocked Baker's niece to the ground, according to court testimony. Someone called 911 after the woman fell and at least two witnesses told police that Bradshaw had what appeared to be a long Phillips head screwdriver, according to court testimony. Police did not find a weapon during their investigation.
When Baker came out of the home, witnesses said, he was holding a kitchen knife. Spotting Baker, Bradshaw tore off his own shirt and rushed toward him. Baker used the knife to stab Bradshaw twice, once in the upper chest near his collarbone and again in the aorta, according to court testimony.
Bradshaw drove three miles to the Wake Forest Police Department. He fell through the front door and told police, "Don't let me die. I can't breathe."
Emergency workers transported him to WakeMed, where he died.
Baker and witnesses told police that it appeared that Bradshaw wanted to hurt someone that night. And there was still some question as to whether Bradshaw had a weapon. Those issues were among the factors that led to Monday's plea agreement.
"No violent confrontation would have taken place were it not for the fact of Mr. Bradshaw's arrival at the scene," Bannon said.
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