The fate of a local man accused of killing his 5-year-old son still hangs in the balance.
Robert J. Baldwin was set to stand trial in the strangling death of his son, Gabriel, this week, but the trial was cancelled as several hearings have been continued.
Baldwin's attorney, Dale Webster, a county public defender, has filed a handful of motions since Baldwin's arrest in early April. He is asking for a change of venue and is also arguing against county prosecutors' request that Baldwin, if convicted, be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Webster says such a life sentence would be unjustified — and even unconstitutional — because Baldwin has an “intellectual disability,” according to documents filed in Knox County Circuit Court over the last several months.
Judge Sherry Gregg-Gilmore previously ruled that Webster could use county funds to have Baldwin undergo mental health and medical evaluations.
A hearing during which Gregg-Gilmore was to hear testimony and rule on these motions was scheduled for Nov. 7, but court employees Thursday said that hearing, too, will be rescheduled due to a conflict in the judge's schedule.
For now, neither a date for the hearing to rule on all pending motions nor a trial date have been set in the case.
Baldwin, 53, is currently being housed at the Knox County Jail. He has been charged with murder as well as strangulation and domestic battery.
Gabriel, his son, was a pre-school student at Francis Vigo Elementary School at the time of his death.
According to documents filed in Circuit Court in April, Baldwin told detectives with the Vincennes Police Department that he planned to kill his son and had been merely waiting for the opportunity to do so. The day the alleged crime was committed, April 4, 2017, his other children, daughters ranging in ages from 3 to 12, weren't home.
Baldwin allegedly told police he attempted to kill Gabriel by smothering him with a pillow. He then strangled him with a USB chord, and finally sat on him until the child quit breathing.
He then reportedly called 911 himself and told dispatchers he'd killed the young boy.
Police arrived to the home at 1323 Bayou St. to find Baldwin waiting outside and Gabriel inside on a bed, blue in the face and without a pulse.
First responders attempted to revive the boy, and he was taken to Good Samaritan Hospital where he was immediately air-lifted to Riley Children's Hospital in Indianapolis. He was pronounced dead two days later.
Typically, a charge of murder in Indiana carries a sentence of 45-65 years.
But under current law, a sentence of life without parole can be requested by the prosecuting attorney if the victim of the murder was under the age of 12 and also if the victim of a murder was also the victim of domestic battery, as is the case here, police argue.