A Dana Point man was convicted Wednesday of murdering one man and injuring his friend by stabbing the victims after a New Year's Eve hotel party.
25, was found guilty by a jury of one felony count each of second degree murder and attempted murder with a sentencing enhancement for the personal use of a deadly weapon. Baker faces a maximum sentence of 23 years to life in state prison at his sentencing Feb. 8, 2013.
Around 2 a.m. on Jan. 1, 2011, Baker was sitting on a bench near the valet parking area at the Hilton Hotel in Costa Mesa after attending a New Year's Eve party at the hotel. When a group of men exited the hotel, Baker flicked his cigarette at them and started a verbal argument as he approached one of the men. Another man in the group, 27-year-old Robert Sickles, stepped in between his brother and the defendant to prevent the situation from escalating into a fight.
Baker approached Sickles and began a physical fight by shoving the victim's face with his hand. Baker then pulled out a knife, slashed Sickles across the chest, and stabbed him once in the chest. Sickles' friend, 26-year-old Brian McTeigue, attempted to intervene to protect his friend and Baker stabbed McTeigue one time in the back.
The victims' friends became involved in the physical fight to defend Sickles and McTeigue and detained Baker. Costa Mesa Police Department officers, who were already at the hotel responding to unrelated disturbances, responded immediately.
Sickles and McTeigue were transported to Western Medical Center, where Sickles was pronounced dead on arrival as a result of the stab wound to the chest. McTeigue was treated for a non-fatal stab wound to the back and was later released. Baker was transported to Mission Hospital to be treated for facial fractures sustained after the stabbing.
--City News Service