February 19, 2019
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Man who snuck out of LaGrange house during standoff makes first court appearance

BANGOR, Maine — The man who allegedly assaulted a woman in Orono on Thursday morning, threatened “suicide by cop” and then held police at bay during a lengthy standoff in LaGrange somehow slipped out of the house and surrendered to police in Bangor.

Raymond Baker, 47, agreed to surrender to Deputy Chief Troy Morton of the Penobscot County Sheriff’s Office and an Orono detective about 8 p.m. Thursday and was arrested on four charges.

He made his first court appearance Friday at the Penobscot Judicial Center by video conference from the Penobscot County Jail. Baker pleaded not guilty to domestic violence assault, assault, criminal restraint, all Class D misdemeanors, and violation of bail conditions, a Class E misdemeanor.

Baker could face additional charges, according to the Penobscot County District attorney’s office.

District Court Judge Bruce Jordan set Baker’s bail at $10,000 cash or $80,000 surety. James Aucoin, assistant district attorney for Penobscot County, requested a high cash bail.

The prosecutor said that Baker has an out-of-state felony record from the late 1980s and early 1990s. He also is on bail out of Rumford District Court for a domestic violence assault, Aucoin said.

“This was a scary situation,” he told Jordan, referring to Thursday’s incident. “The victim was trying to flee and a comment was made by Mr. Baker. It appears that suicide by cop was threatened.”

Bangor lawyer Joseph Belisle, who acted as Baker’s attorney Friday, said that Baker had retracted the suicide-by-cop statement. He also was not in the home when the police were there and voluntarily surrendered, Belisle told Jordan.

The attorney also said that the female victim has “significant mental health issues” and Baker was trying to help her get help for them.

Belisle argued for a lower bail. He said that Baker could make some cash bail, but not $10,000. The attorney asked the judge to set bail at $50,000 surety.

The incident started about 7:50 a.m. Thursday when store employees at the Mobil convenience store, officially named Foster’s, on Stillwater Avenue called police to say there was an assault taking place in the parking lot.

“They reported a male had a female in a bear hug and the manager and female store clerk had gone out to help,” Orono police Capt. Josh Ewing said Friday.

By the time police arrived, Baker had taken off in the victim’s car and left his car behind. The woman was inside the store unharmed.

The victim, 27, told police “they had a verbal argument in LaGrange in the morning and she had left and gone to the store. He pulled up in another vehicle and grabbed her. They [store employees] were able to get him off her,” Ewing said.

The store clerk suffered the only injury during the confrontation, when Baker “slammed the [vehicle’s] door and hit her wrist,” the police captain said.

The actions of the store employees “obviously stopped a further assault,” Ewing said.

Baker drove the woman’s car back to the Brimstone Road residence they share in LaGrange, where it was located by police.

“We learned through some cellphone calls that he was at or near the residence,” Ewing said.

Orono requested assistance from Maine State Police and the Penobscot County Sheriff’s Office, the latter of which sent its Special Response Team to Brimstone Road.

“We made contact with him and there was ongoing communication with him,” Morton said Friday.

Police learned that Baker’s 2-year-old boy and his 88-year-old father were inside the home and worked to ensure their safety.

“Very early on contact was made with the grandfather of the child and he and the child came out and are safe,” Ewing said.

Only Baker knows when he slipped from the house and how he got to Bangor.

“Early reports were that he was at the residence and at some point he was able to make it to Bangor,” Ewing said.

The lengthy standoff tapped numerous resources, Morton said. Ewing said every precaution had to be taken to ensure the safety of everyone involved, including the female victim, the child, the grandfather and even Baker.

Baker turned himself over to Morton and the Orono detective on Sanford Street in Bangor.

He is scheduled to appear in court again on Aug. 13.

If convicted, Baker faces up to a year in prison and a fine of up to $2,000 on each of the Class D crimes and six months in jail and a fine of up $1,000 on the bail violation.

BDN writers Dawn Gagnon and Alex Barber contributed to this report.

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