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Superior Court upholds Somerset man's domestic violence conviction

May 20—SOMERSET, Pa. — A Somerset man convicted of beating a woman and striking her in the face with a rifle in 2021 has lost an appeal of his sentence.

Telford Baker’s list of appeal grounds, including one calling his seven-to-15 year sentence excessive, have “no merit,” state Superior Court Judge Megan McCarthy wrote in a 15-page decision on Thursday.

“We agree with the trial court that there was sufficient evidence to sustain all of (Baker)’s convictions,” said McCarthy, one of three judges who considered his appeals.

Baker was convicted in October 2021 of aggravated assault, simple assault, recklessly endangering another person and 16 counts of witness intimidation.

Those charges stemmed from a domestic dispute in which a jury found Baker struck, squeezed and injured a woman in his residence. According to testimony, she was hit with various objects, had insect- killer sprayed at her face and was struck with a hunting rifle.

The woman sustained a broken nose and a concussion from the rifle, as well as bruises, in the attack.

Baker’s appeal argued that sufficient evidence wasn’t provided to convict him of the charges. His attorney also wrote that a Somerset County judge allowed “prejudicial” testimony about prior domestic violence incidents involving the pair — but McCarthy agreed the county court did not err by allowing the testimony for limited purposes.

Authorities said that Baker tried at least 15 times to convince the woman to drop the charges — at one point offering her money.

Somerset County Acting District Attorney Molly Metzgar noted that the woman was able to face her abuser in court and testify about Baker’s actions — crediting her testimony as a key reason why the case was upheld.

“I am especially proud of the incredibly brave victim in this case. We could not have achieved and upheld this verdict without her,” Metzgar said.

She said her office “takes a strong stance” against domestic violence.

“I must also commend the Pennsylvania State Police for the rapid response of the troopers who ensured the safety of this victim not only that night, but for years to come,” Metzgar said.

Authorities often stress that help is available for people suffering from domestic violence. Anyone suffering from domestic violence can also call a 24/7 confidential hotline at 800-799-7233.