Meet the Exonerees

Edward Baker

State: Pennsylvania
Date of Birth: 1957
Incident Date: 12/20/1973
Age at Arrest: 17
Conviction Date: 09/27/1974
Age When Exonerated: 45
Exonerated Date: 02/11/2002
Time Served: 25
Conviction: Murder, Robbery, Burglary, Criminal Conspiracy
False Confession: No
Implicated by Another Youth: No

Case Details

In 1973, seventeen-year-old Edward “Eddie” Baker was arrested for murder, robbery, burglary, and criminal conspiracy related to the death of seventy-five-year-old Steven Gibbons in South Philadelphia. The only evidence against Baker was testimony from twenty-one-year-old Donohue Wise, a heroin-addicted schizophrenic, and a supposed coconspirator in the crimes. Because of his testimony against Baker, Wise was able to get away with only three years in jail, as opposed to Baker's life sentence. In his 1974 trial, Baker's lawyers failed to accurately represent the unreliability of Wise’s testimony, and until 1996, all of his appeals were denied. Finally, after an innocence project picked up his case, they were able to get Baker a new trial. They also convinced Wise to tell the truth, recant his testimony, and confess that he committed the crimes. This recanted testimony and new confession, in addition to the eleven alibi witnesses for Eddie, led to his new trial, In August 1997, Philadelphia Judge Darnell Jones stated Eddie’s 1974 trial was a “miscarriage of justice,” and overturned his conviction. On December 16, 1999, Eddie was released on bail, and he remained on house arrest pending retrial. On February 11, 2002, after a twenty-eight year ordeal, all charges against Eddie Baker were dropped.