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Murder suspect's mom speaks on investigation

Posted at 5:13 PM, Apr 19, 2016

HANCOCK COUNTY, Ind. – Was it murder? Or just an accident? Those are the questions at the center of a homicide investigation in New Palestine after police say a man ran over the boyfriend of his ex-wife, killing him with his car.

Joseph Baker, 27, is accused of using his truck to run over and kill 23-year-old Duane Begley.

We spoke exclusively with Baker’s mother, who says police have it all wrong.

While no one is debating what exactly happened (court documents show Baker admitted to running over Begley), Baker calls it an accident. The county prosecutor calls it murder.

“He was pushed to the point of breaking, and that was caused by his ex-wife,” Baker’s mother, Lisa, said.

Court documents show Baker said he wanted to see his kids. He drove to New Palestine last Thursday to speak with his ex-wife. As he drove around town, he found her with her boyfriend inside a van.

Court docs say Baker rear-ended that van in the area of County Road 500 West and U.S. Highway 52. Baker says his truck has been having problems, so he had trouble stopping the car.

What happened next is under dispute and is at the crux of the case.

Baker told investigators the boyfriend – Begley – got out of the van with a knife and tried to slash Baker’s tires.

“He did stab his tires on his truck,” Baker’s mother, Lisa, said. “So Joseph was just trying to get away from him, because the man was scaring him. He was really – really, like I said – unstable.”

In court documents, Baker says he maneuvered his vehicle around to point at Begley. Baker says in an effort to scare Begley, he gunned his car toward him.

Baker told investigators he meant to scare Begley, but not hurt him. Baker says he accidentally dropped the clutch and it caused him to run over Begley.

Begley died as a result.

Investigators say Baker confirmed he had been in a physical fight with Begley in the past and that he had made threats against Begley.

“The intent here is shown by the evidence we have,” Hancock County Prosecutor Brent Eaton said. “There (are) witnesses who personally saw things, as well as a lot of other evidence we gathered at the scene.”

We were unable to reach the victim’s family for comment, and a friend did not wish to give an interview.

“I’m sorry for their loss,” Lisa Baker said. “But like I said, what I’ve seen of their son, I really think he had mental problems, and they probably should have got him some help. The way he was acting was just not normal.”

Meanwhile, Baker made his first court appearance Monday. He is due back in court in the murder charge in June.