A Flathead County District Court judge has denied a request for a bail reduction by Dylan Thomas Baker, a 48-year-old Whitefish man accused of attacking his ex-girlfriend, restraining her with duct tape in a basement and threatening to kill her in December 2021.
In denying the motion, Judge Amy Eddy on Dec. 1 ordered that Baker’s bail remain at $250,000, a decision prosecutors supported as they filed new felony charges of drug possession. Indeed, Baker has been jailed at the Flathead County Detention Center since Oct. 28, not for the initial allegations of assault, but for violating the conditions set prior to his previous release by failing to replace his GPS monitoring device.
The most recent chapter in Baker’s legal odyssey began last December, when he pleaded not guilty to felony counts of kidnapping, strangulation of a partner or family member, and assault with a weapon. He posted $100,000 bond following his arrest and was released from jail in late 2021.
However, according to a petition to revoke the man’s bond filed Oct. 24 by Deputy Flathead County Attorney Andrew Clegg, the state was notified on Oct. 21, 2022, that Baker failed to charge his GPS monitoring device and told officials at a local bail, bond and monitoring service that he’d lost it while riding his motorcycle.
In addition to his failure to replace the GPS device, Clegg said the defendant violated multiple other conditions, which included possessing firearms and drugs. Prosecutors also said they had evidence that he was laying plans to leave the country and had moved out of his residence without notifying the court.
In addition to those violations of his previous release, Baker was charged on Nov. 29 with a felony count of criminal possession of dangerous drugs after a woman turned in his backpack “that she felt uncomfortable possessing” to the Whitefish Police Department, according to charging documents. Items in the backpack included methamphetamine, court papers, licenses, IDs, and a passport that all belonged to Baker.
“I will adamantly deny that charge,” Baker said at last week’s hearing.
Following Baker’s arrest, he told his ex-wife to “empty out his personal things” from his vehicle, charging records state. He also instructed his son to retrieve a Glock handgun that was hidden in one of his vehicles.
At the bail modification hearing, Baker told the court that he possessed several firearms but that he had “not touched any guns” since he was released from jail last year.
Additionally, Baker emailed an employee of Whitefish Parks and Recreation to apply for boat launch permits for his commercial marine business and wrote that he was leaving the country for the winter, another violation of his release conditions.
“I would argue Mr. Baker had a handful of conditions and he’s violated half of them,” Clegg said. “He made an effort to get these things out of his vehicle that he knew shouldn’t be in there including the Glock … he was possessing drugs and alcohol, he had a firearm, he intended to leave the country, he failed on his GPS requirements and he got kicked out of his property and never told anybody.”
“Now he’s facing another felony,” Clegg added. “I think his bond is more than reasonable at $250,000 and he should remain in custody.”
Baker’s defense attorney, Lane Bennett, argued that despite the violations, he had not been in contact with the victim in the case, which was the purpose of the GPS device, and he therefore didn’t need to be in jail.
“The bottom line is that for 10 months, there had been no complaints from the alleged victim with contact, communication or anything,” Bennett said. “That’s the purpose of the GPS, is to prevent contact with the alleged victim and she has made no reports … I don’t think he should even be required to wear the GPS.”
Baker’s arraignment hearing for the criminal possession of dangerous drugs charge is scheduled for Dec. 15. Separately, he is scheduled to go to trial on Jan. 9, 2023, for charges of kidnapping, strangulation of a partner or family member, and assault with a weapon.
If you or someone you know is the victim of domestic violence, the Abbie Shelter operates a 24-hour crisis helpline at (406) 752-7273. Additional information can be found at www.abbieshelter.org.
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