Jury convicts man of shooting, robbing off-duty sheriff's major outside Cattlemen's

Christopher T. Baker, 30, of Oklahoma City, faces life in prison for gunning down John Waldenville as he carried $6,000 bank deposit for restaurant.
by Tim Willert Modified: December 7, 2012 at 11:36 pm •  Published: December 7, 2012

A jury deliberated four hours Friday before convicting a man of shooting off-duty Oklahoma County sheriff's Maj. John Waldenville and robbing him of $6,000 as he walked to make a bank deposit for Cattlemen's Steakhouse.

Christopher Travis Baker, 30, of Oklahoma City, showed no reaction when jurors returned verdicts of guilty for shooting with intent to kill and robbery with a firearm.

“Justice was done,” juror Jenny Cox, of Choctaw, said as she left the courtroom.

The panel also considered Baker's punishment and recommended sentences of life in prison on the first charge and 30 years on the second charge. Baker, who has prior convictions for burglary and robbery, is set to be sentenced by District Judge Kenneth C. Watson on Feb. 8.

Prosecutors alleged Baker ambushed Waldenville on May 21, 2011, just after midnight, as he walked to a nearby bank to deposit money for the restaurant where he worked as a security guard.

Waldenville, 61, was shot in the face and lost his right eye.

“This was a brutal, senseless, heartless crime committed against a deputy who was working a second job trying to provide for his family,” First Assistant District Attorney Scott Rowland said outside the courtroom.

Rowland said Waldenville might have died had it not been for the efforts of medical personnel and a Cattlemen's dishwasher who took off his shirt and applied pressure to Waldenville's gunshot wound moments after the shooting.

Waldenville did not attend the five-day trial, but several family members did, including his three sisters and youngest daughter.

“This is a victory for our brother and for us,” Cathy Waldenville Newman said.

Nancy Waldenville Brewer, the deputy's youngest sister, hugged Baker's mother after the verdicts were read and kissed her on the forehead.

“It's not her fault,” Waldenville Brewer said. “Her son made a choice, and he has to suffer the consequences. We don't hold her responsible.”

In their closing arguments Friday, Rowland and Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Chance said Baker was broke and had motive to rob Waldenville, citing witness testimony and recordings of phone calls Baker made to his girlfriend from jail.

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by Tim Willert
Education Reporter
Tim Willert is a native Californian with Oklahoma ties who covers education. Prior to moving to Oklahoma in June 2011, he was as an editor for FOXSports.com in Century City, Calif., and reported on courts for the Los Angeles Daily Journal and...
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