A bank robbery suspect who took a woman hostage and then killed himself in Edmonton last month had threatened suicide just days earlier as he stared down a jail sentence in Winnipeg.
Edmonton police did not release the name of the suspect found dead inside a northside city home Nov. 29, but highly placed local sources have identified him as 36-year-old Marcus Xavier Baird of Winnipeg.
Baird was allegedly fleeing after robbing a bank around 1 p.m. when he ran into a random home and took a woman hostage. Edmonton police said hostage negotiators communicated with a suspect before the woman was released with "serious but non-life-threatening injuries" around 5:30 p.m. Police entered the house 30 minutes later and found Baird dead.
Five days earlier, a Winnipeg judge convicted Baird after trial on two counts of possession of stolen property and one count of trafficking in stolen property. Court heard testimony that dozens of boxes of hardwood flooring and other property were stolen from a home under construction in the RM of Springfield in May 2018 and was later offered for sale by Baird through Kijiji.
Court documents show police executed a search warrant at Baird’s Wall Street warehouse and seized more than 300 construction tools and other items that had been reported stolen.
Crown attorney Mark Kantor initially told court that day he would consider a sentence of six months time served, but later changed his position, saying a sentence closer to two years was appropriate, given the commercial nature of the crime.
Baird was scheduled to appear in court the following day, Nov. 25, for sentencing, but didn’t show up. Instead, he sent an email to Kantor claiming to be in possession of a "damning report" that shows corruption by police and justice officials handling his case.
"I think that the proposed time that you are seeking for a sentence is completely unreasonable," Baird wrote in an email Kantor read out to provincial court Judge Anne Krahn. "I would suggest to you that you revert back to your first offer of time in custody or I will use this report to expose everything that you and the police have done."
Kantor told Krahn he had reviewed his position again and had Baird gone to court, he would have told him he was considering a sentence closer to time served. Krahn agreed to adjourn sentencing for one day to give Baird another chance to attend court.
In a second email sent to Kantor later that day, Baird said again he would not go to court. "If I am to be treated fairly in court, I don’t believe that to be a possibility from prison," he wrote. "I am in no way running, but just looking to buy some time so that I can pay for a lawyer, like I have repeatedly asked for."
Kantor told court Nov. 26 he replied to Baird’s email the previous day, at 7:22 p.m., cautioning Baird his message could be interpreted as extortion and telling him he was now prepared to recommend a sentence of time served. Kantor said Baird did not reply until 10:45 a.m., Nov. 26.
"I wish that I had read this earlier," Baird wrote. "After yesterday, I had decided that it would be best to take my own life and have already made arrangements to do so. Even if I wanted to, I could not make it to court… this afternoon. Any attempts by me to try and extort you, if that’s what you want to call it, was just my fear of going back to jail. This doesn’t matter anymore. I am sorry for the inconvenience."
Kantor said after receiving the email, he contacted Baird’s parole officer and police to initiate a well-being check on him.
Krahn issued a warrant for Baird’s arrest.
"I certainly hope he has not hurt himself and things haven’t come to that point," she said.
In June 2019, Baird was convicted of obtaining the sexual services of someone under 18 and sexual interference. He was sentenced to 3 ½ years in prison. Baird was arrested in October 2018 after police caught him having sex in his car with a 15-year-old girl.
Baird spent six months in custody on the most recent charges before he was granted bail in July.
Baird had been accused of a number of other sex crimes in the past, but not convicted.
He spent nearly three years in custody before sex-assault charges, involving separate attacks on a 62-year-old woman and a 26-year-old woman, were stayed in 2014.
He was taken into custody April 16, 2011, accused of sexually assaulting two prostitutes in his car. He was acquitted in May 2012, after a judge ruled key aspects of the Crown’s case gave him reasonable doubt.
Baird was accused of assaulting another woman in her garage in February 2011. Charges in that case were stayed for lack of evidence.
Someone once said a journalist is just a reporter in a good suit. Dean Pritchard doesn’t own a good suit. But he knows a good lawsuit.