PUTNAM COUNTY, Fla. — A Putnam County family is relieved, knowing the person who killed their young boys will die by lethal injection.
It’s an emotional time for this family. They say Tayten and Robert Baker’s murders will haunt them forever, but say they’re grateful the judge sentenced Mark Wilson to death.
Wilson lived on the Baker’s property at the time of the murders and was dating the boys’ aunt. Crime scene evidence showed he beat the brothers with a hammer and then slashed their throats.
Judge Howard McGillin called it an “egregious crime” – saying the 14-year-old Tayten was awake at the time of the murder, with a blood trail showing that he tried to reach a cell phone but died before he could. The boys’ mother discovered them the next morning.
“The defendant committed two truly horrific murders of innocent children," Judge McGillin said. "Tayten’s death, in particular, was especially cruel and undoubtedly painful. The court finds insufficient evidence to override or disagree with the jury’s recommendations. Finding that the prerequisites of law have been met and that a jury of his peers has unanimously found death to be the appropriate sentence.”
The boys’ cousin Kelli Cocco said this is the hardest loss she’s ever experienced.
“It’ll never bring the boys back,” Cocco said. “I don’t think in a case like this there is real justice, but this is the best outcome that could have happened for our family, so now we can try to find a way to move on and find our new normal.”
She said the family has memorial trees they decorate on Robert and Tayten’s birthdays each year to honor them.
State Attorney’s Office staff celebrated with the boys’ family members after the sentence was handed down.
State Attorney R.J. Larizza said the family’s lives are forever changed by what happened.
“This was a brutal and vicious murder,” Larizza said. “The defendant showed the victims no mercy, and he didn’t get any mercy today, and I’m glad he didn’t because he didn’t deserve it.”