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Jury Deciding Fate of New Year's Stabber

Air Force veteran and Mission Viejo resident Robert Sickles was killed at a New Year's Eve party nearly two year ago. Did Adam Baker act in self defense, or was it murder?

Today jurors continue deliberating the fate of Adam Randy Baker of Dana Point, charged with second-degree murder of Air Force veteran and Mission Viejo resident Robert Sickles.

Baker, 24, is accused of picking a fight at a New Year's Eve party in Costa Mesa last year and stabbing a man to death.

He is charged with second-degree murder and attempted murder and faces sentence-enhancing allegations for the personal use of a deadly weapon. He faces up to 23 years to life in prison if convicted.

Jurors deliberated for about an hour before going home Tuesday, Deputy District Attorney Matt Murphy said. They will resume deliberations at 9 a.m. Wednesday.

Baker is accused of fatally stabbing Sickles, 27, and stabbing Sickles' then-26-year- old friend, Brian McTeigue, about 2 a.m. on Jan. 1, 2011, at a New Year's Eve party at the Costa Mesa Hilton.

In closing arguments Monday, Murphy alleged Baker is a killer who brought a knife to a fistfight, but his defense attorney countered that he was just trying to defend himself at a New Year's Eve party that ended “horribly.”

“You can't pick a fight and pull out a knife in a fist fight,'' Murphy told jurors Monday.

Baker flicked a cigarette into a crowd of people and then said, “What the (expletive) are you looking at?” Murphy said.

“Those words have never been uttered by someone not looking for a fight,” Murphy said. “That is the language of the bully.”

Baker allegedly shoved Sickles, slashed him with the knife and then plunged it into his chest, Murphy argued. In the scrum, McTeigue was also stabbed in the back.

Defense attorney Gary Pohlson told jurors Baker was beaten so badly he ended up spending nearly a week in a hospital.

Baker testified during the trial that he could not recall the fight. He said he went to the party forgetting that he had left in his pocket a knife that he had been using to open boxes at his job.

“So he's at the Hilton for four hours and only during the fight does it occur to him he has a knife in his pocket?" Murphy said.

“That's absolutely insulting to your intelligence. It's untrue.”

Pohlson offered a different account.

“Adam Baker was at this party. He's having a good time,” Pohlson said. “Then he does a dopey thing. A rude thing. He flicks his cigarette. But he didn't flick it to start a fight.”

The fight started moments later, but Pohlson said it is not clear who started it. --City News Service

Wendy Bucknum December 13, 2012 at 12:38 AM
Verdict is in - guilty of second degree murder and guilty of attempted murder.
Andy Dufresne December 13, 2012 at 09:41 PM
If anyone has any information about what happened on NYE at the Hilton we need you please to step forward. We believe that there are more witnesses that saw what happened in front of the Hilton and probably cellphone footage as well. Adam Baker was railroaded in this case, did not start a fight, and is innocent of the charges of which he was convicted. Please appeal to your conscience if you saw anything that night. To remain silent is to be complicit in this wrongful outcome. Your anonymity is assured and protected. Private message me. Thank You http://www.facebook.com/pages/Truth-About-Hilton-Nye-2011/307127922732983
MH January 17, 2013 at 03:53 AM
It doesn't matter who started the fight. What matters is that this person CHOSE to pull out a knife and stab Robert. It doesn't matter if he knew the knife was in his pocket or not. He CHOSE to pull it out and to use it on someone. Even if Robert had started this fight, does that mean being stabbed to death is justified? This was my next door neighbor and a very loving family. No matter what the circumstances were, no one deserved to be killed.
Peter Schelden January 17, 2013 at 04:37 AM
Thanks for leaving a comment, MH. You can find updates to this story on Patch here ( http://patch.com/A-0zqj ) and here ( http://patch.com/A-0r2B ).

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