I was invited to be a special guest on Cameron Jay's Classic City Crime podcast to discuss and talk about the killer of Tara Baker's psychological profile, possible motives, and who potentially may have also been involved. Special thanks to Cameron for inviting me to speak on his podcast!
Keep up-to-date for future episodes on Classic City Crime here on https://classiccitycrimepodcast.com/ and listen to previous and upcoming episodes of Classic City Crime on:
Welcome. Welcome. Welcome to the forensic psychology podcast with Dr. Michael Perrotti. I'm not Dr. Michael Perrotti though. I wish I had half of his intelligence. I'm Cameron J. From the great state of Georgia and I'm honored to be guests hosting Dr. Perrotti this week. A little bit of background on me. I'm a former funeral director and embalmer turned true crime podcasts and investigator.
Yes, there is quite a bit of layer to the onion. That is me. And I don't call myself an onion because I forget to take showers that's for sure. I'm currently working on the 20-year unsolved mystery of the murder of Tara Louise Baker, a 23-year-old law student here in Athens, Georgia, who was murdered in January of 2001 in her home.
The death was violent, beatings, scabbing, strangulation, and the answers as to who could have done. These are few and far between. Investigators have been quiet. The police department has given the family little information. And so that's where my podcast has come into play. Over the last 13 weeks, we have uncovered breaking information that has become news to the family.
And some of the investigators who have been involved in the case, that's how I met dr. . I needed some help to learn more about the psychology surrounding Tara's case, the possible persons of interest, and what happened to her on that fateful rainy day in January, he's been an invaluable resource to my podcast.
Truly. He's been an invaluable resource to the Baker family and to our listeners, as we discover and try to figure out who could have possibly wanted Tara dead, but also the big question of. Y you can learn more about Tara's case by visiting my podcast website, classic city, crime.com. Now that we've gotten through a little background, a terrorist case, I wanted to play my interview with dr.
Karate from classic city crime this week, which began with the dear doctor, letting me know that he is actually a fan of grits, which made this Southern gents heart. Hey, that's where, that's where they broke me in with Griffiths was Georgia. Alpharetta George. I had my first bullet grids. What did you like?
Yeah, I thought it was really good crunchy, you know? Yeah. So what's going on with Tara's case was going on with that. Now after we got through catching up with one another, we did decide to take a closer look at Tara's case. And I think that Dr. Insight on the case is extremely valuable, not only in looking at Tara's case, but in looking at cases that are very similar here is our interview.
Hope you enjoy. I was thinking about Tara before I left the office chair was a victim of this extreme violence, extreme violence, you know, and. So I thought about Tara and I'm like, wait a minute. This is a case of extreme violence. This is not someone who doesn't know her. So I really believe that I believe there was a motive I'll raise them.
I think there was some, there was some issue. She had some issues with somebody. I don't know what the hell it was, but she did. And they came in there and they did that. That's what I think. I really think that's what happened. Yeah, 'cause there's a, there's different types of violence. There are syndromes of lethal violence.
They percolate, you know, somebody and then they elevate to a point of extreme violence. You know, some people, they feel they've been wrong and they go around and they fake that. It becomes me versus them. Now, you know, could she have been the victim of a sexually violent predator? Yes. But for an SV, a to go on her house, you know, to get people to get out of the half, access, to have access and to know where she lived and I have access, this is, this is not essentially violent predators.
They usually. They prey on women and them just kind of, you know, they're out there, out there on the streets and random acts of violence, but this doesn't sound like that. You know, I think there was an issue with somebody that person knew her heir ago. They had access to her a house and that was it. You know, that's what I think.
That's my take on it. I think the whole thing was totally screwed up because the police, didn't do a proper investigation. You know, we're not hearing anything about hair fibers, lots of sayings that degraded GMA that they bring dogs out there, you know, that they have dogs, searching for evidence.
You know, I don't think them, you know, from what I heard. It could have involved Evan, the partner violence to cut somebody feeling a grief buff by her. It could have been failing somebody who was delusional and thought she loved him or something. And they were stalking her a mania as they call it. What do you think about the fact Dr?
That, Tara's laptop was the only thing taken from the house. Does that lead you to believe that this is robbery or? that this is something more personal than that, you know, I think the first step was a complete terrorist crime against her, but then I think, I think the computer was a further step than other words.
When you get a person's computer, it's like their cell phone and you get there in their whole life. Their whole world is in there. So I think they stole a computer because they're like, okay, how can we hurt her some more? How can we find out about her contacts? You know, what she was doing with people and where she was gone and get all her information, you get that he gets that from things like computers and cell phones.
So. So it's not as it makes sense when you say it's, it was just the computer because that's her information. If it was something other than computer wanting to access her life through her laptop because everybody's stuff is on their computer, then they would have stolen jewelry or cash, or who knows what, you know, we got you, you know, we've destroyed you now.
We're going out, you know, we’re going to see what else we can do to hurt you in your life. Even though we laid shout, what else can we do to hurt you? And they go take her computer. That's what I think happened. What do you think about the fact that the crime scene is set on fire? After, after Tara's killed to destroy evidence, destroy us.
People commonly do that. They set cars on fire. They put bodies in the trunk. And et cetera, right? The car, you know, that's what they do to destroy evidence, you know, but most of the time they're stupid and I forget something and they leave it behind a sort of like the homicide I told you about where the guy left the Gatorade bottle, a red Gatorade bottle and they, the police go.
To the guy's friend's house to find out where he is before they send the warrant, which is about 50 guys with AK 47. I don't know. Oh, you know, before they do that, they go to the friend's house of what did they find at the friend's house? They find a bottle of not only a bottle of Gatorade on our red bottle.
Okay. So people make mistakes like that because you know, I'm not there. I didn't see that, but I mean, I don't hear anything about evidence collection, blood samples, fibers, lifting prints. I don't even think they wipe the place for prints myself. You know, it doesn't sound like it. The only, the only way you can tell that as a.
You'd have to have access to the crime lab report. Do you think there's any significance to the fact that everything used in the crime against Tara was located in her home? What that tells me as again, there was an issue she had with somebody. I don't know how to it was that person knew her. They knew where she lived.
They were able to kill them without access. She, she obviously knew them. And so I think what happens to answer your question is, they got in and they didn't just go in and kill her. They got in, and there was some sort of tape to tape, you know, some sort of, some sort of key fight, you know, and it escalated a man.
I think where's the. Where is the most location of the most frequent, where most homicides are committed in the US in the kitchen, or they grab a knife? So it's not that, Oh, well, everything was in our house. Somebody came in there and they had an issue with her who knows what. You, and I have talked a little bit dr.
Karate about some of the people have interest in, as it relates to, you know, what we're discussing now, who do you think deserves a closer look as it relates to what you know about Tara's case and what happened? Former suitor’s boyfriends, people, and intimate and non-intimate relationships, business relationships, the contact she had with law enforcement.
Just too all the significant contacts in her life. You know, I think, you know what, this is telling me as this was probably falling under, probably falling under the heading of, of an intimate partner, intimate friends, intimate contact of some kind. This was not, I don't believe this was, I don't think this was a stranger.
So that would roll out. Yeah. A stranger, a stranger is going to comment on a comment and then just kill her, you know, you know, you know, try to come in to steal something or Laura's the place. Doesn't make sense either, because I guess it could, but you know, that's not, that's not what the case was.
They didn't. Steal valuables. They stole her computer, which is a very personal piece of information. That's where everybody's information. And who knows, who knows? I mean maybe, maybe they burned the place. Maybe there was information about them on the computer. There was information about them. And emails from her on the computer to them.
And they didn't want anybody to find out about that. So they took the computer. Do you think that the person who committed this crime is likely to have done it again, based on what we know about the scene, what happened to Tara? The people that we're looking at, do you think this could be a onetime thing or a, a multiple occurrence things in someone's life?
No something like this? No, I think they killed again because the best projector of future violence, this past violence, now, this kind of violent act, I think they killed a gap and it could very well have been outside of Georgia. You know, this person might've been predatory, you know, What kind of mental toll do you think it would take on someone who's committed a crime like this to keep it a secret for so long?
Or do you think that they probably have slipped up and told someone about their crime? These people compartmentalize things. So like bill Clinton was talking about that one time. He said he has the little file drawers up and you know, some people can just, some people can compartmentalize the third, usually psychopathic.
And then, other people are, you know, there's instrumental violence, which is very reactive and predatory violence, which is planning and forethought and hers was more reactive violence. but you know, it's hard to say, you know, I mean, it depends on whether they had a sociopathic judge rates or not, whether this is.
Going up father on her, not and probative because obviously, I mean, obviously that I care about her because they set the place on fire after resume. Think about the possibility that the person who committed this could have been under the influence of drugs or alcohol. I don't think that I don't. I think that's probably a low probability cause.
They entered the place. They had a route of access. They were thinking they were planning. They tried to destroy evidence. They were planning again. They took her all of her personal information off the computer. This was not an access to someone under the phones or something. If there's anything that you could say to the terrace family, what would you say to them about all of this shalt and be counted?
Because I would not tolerate a family member of mine, the murders and the police saying, Oh, you know, this is an investigation. So we can't talk about this. And I'm like, excuse me, excuse me. We are the family. Do you care about even talking to us or getting information? What do you mean? How can you possibly say this is a sauna investigation?
I mean, that's this, this, a mess that they created is preventing the family from hailing. That's preventing the family from getting closure. Who did this? Why did they do this to our job? Or that is the worst thing you can do to a family. To just prolong their grief, their pain because of your inadequate work.
You know, there are many, many ways that this can be made better. It can be made better by applying degraded DNA techniques that can be degraded by, you know, revisiting. The evidence on the crime scene. There's many cases, many cases I can tell you about many 30, 40 years later, people have visited the crime scene.
I mean, what did they find? They found new evidence. So that is something that even the family needs to be even more outraged about this, you know, this heinous outrageous. Crime. It got started jogger here in California. We had, we're not like that California has a lot of problems, but we're not like that out here.
I mean, we have been, we just sentenced the golden state killer. It was a serial killer. He used to be a police officer who he killed like 50 people I think. And, they had a task force of detectives. This thing was like 30 years ago and they still were working on the case. Hello, Georgia. A low, Hmm. Hello GBI.
How lo why are law enforcement in California still working on a case of apprehended? The killer. Because he wasn't married at 11 and I may have her hood just like Alpharetta or one of those places like normal people. I'm the police who did a familial study. They did a familial tree, familial tree, DNA tree database, and they lifted a cup out of the trashcan.
And his driveway and they tested it for BLM. That's how they, that's how they nailed him. 40 years later, he was a young man. Now he's like almost 70. So why in California? The family needs to like, look at them. Why are we having detectives down here who never gave up? They never gave up trying to find this monster out here.
Never gave up. And they got him, but they're oh, it's soon investigation. We can talk about it.
It’s been frustrating. And I know, I know, I know there are mixed feelings about the governor and the mass Wars out there, but I would, I mean, I would even maybe. Talk to the governor. Is there anything else you want to say about the case, or your, well, like I say, the other possibilities are somebody could have been stalking her people, stalk people for years, for years, and then they break up with them and they still stop them.
So. You know, unfortunately, the victim sound lights. We'll talk about this. So people don't find out about this alone, but I've had women come to me and they are now in their mid, late twenties. And they were in their early twenties in college. Rebuffed a suitor, you know, or old boyfriend. And he continued.
To harass some and to, sought some in college. And then they cut them loose in college somehow. And they graduated. These are girls that I know, one girl, I know, they get out and they're like, Oh my God, what do I do now? Do I have to Veronica? No, I got a restraining order or what, because that's rare on this ugly, how to gun say domestic violence.
Kevin applies here. It's cyclical. It's a cycle of abuse to give those abuse and guilt and remorse and apology. And then back to the same thing he got, you know, so that's a fact that you're telling me. You know, they use something in our home, the home had, they had access to the home, they interpreted computer.
This is telling me there's someone who this was some, intimate type of relationship, as opposed to a stranger. I don't think this was, this was not a stranger. This kind of what I look like as a forensic psych move. Just what I look like. How does behavior? And that's not the behavior of a stranger, you know, no way.
That's my brand for tonight. Because even though I don't know the family, I share their pain, I feel their pain. And by the way, if I may say to the family, sorry for your loss. Sorry for your loss. No, I feel your loss. Sorry for your loss. And, I also, I would love to tell the family, please never give up.
Please never give up. Don't ever give up, trying to find this monster and hold these people accountable who are supposed to be doing the investigation don't ever give up because Tara's spirit is with you. She doesn't want you to give up, she wants you to keep fighting so that. That's what I would say.
That was great. Dr. Perrotti. Thank you. Oh, you're quite well. Now, thanks again to Dr. Perrotti for his insights on Tara's case. Be sure to listen to classic city crime every Thursday, wherever you get your podcasts, and be sure to continue to stay up to date with Dr. Michael Perrotti’s podcast week to week at www.drmichaelperrotti.com
Thanks again. Stay well. Be well, take care. I'm Cameron J.