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Defense attorney: Killing might have been prevented if client received better support

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ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. -- An attorney says the murder his client committed might have been prevented if his client had received a more appropriate level of support for his intellectual disabilities and mental health needs.

“I think there were some systematic failures that caused him to be in this situation, and I do think that this horrible event could have been prevented had the system worked for him,” said Jesse Glassman, the attorney who was appointed to defend Brad Baker, 22, in the murder of Baker’s caregiver, Harsono Harsono.

“Brad Baker is very remorseful. He [pleaded] guilty,” said Glassman.

Last week, a judge sentenced Baker to 48 years in prison for the murder in June 2017.

“This was a particularly brutal and heinous crime,” said Chief Deputy District Attorney Andrew Steers, during the sentencing.

According to a the 18th Judicial District Attorney’s Office, Harsono was found bleeding profusely on the floor after Baker, the man for whom he was providing support services and housing, violently attacked him. A second suspect is also charged in the crime.

“Heinous crimes like this make us question the society in which we live,” said District Attorney George Brauchler.

Glassman said a judge found his client to be “incapacitated” in 2015, and Baker was appointed a legal guardian.

“He required a caregiver, and that’s how he was set-up with the victim in this case,” he said.

Harsano was a host home provider who opened his home to Baker under the supervision of a now-defunct, Medicaid-approved agency in Colorado, Act of Kindness.

In exchange for providing housing and support to people who have intellectual disabilities, host home providers receive tax-free Medicaid reimbursement.  Host home providers do not require a state license, but they do receive training and certifications through the regulated agencies that hire them.

Health department records obtained by the FOX31 Problem Solvers show Baker had autism, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. He also suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Records indicate he also used “self-injurious behavior” to cope with anger and depressive feelings.

One document revealed he required line-of-sight care 24-hours a day, but he had been found unsupervised in the community on numerous occasions.

Two months before Baker committed the murder, he was accused of stabbing the host home provider in the arm with a knife.  Glassman said he believed Baker was not taking his medication as prescribed.

“Anyone that saw this from the outside would know that Mr. Baker’s needs were so much greater than (those) Mr. Harsono was trained for,” said Glassman.

According to Glassman, Baker’s complex needs would have been better served in a facility that employed licensed medical providers.

After the murder and receiving a complaint, the state health department conducted a survey at the agency, Act of Kindness, and found the agency had committed multiple violations to state regulations including failure to conduct regular, on-site monitoring, failure to provide written orders by physicians for all medication, and failure to protect the safety of the client and others.

The agency is now closed.

“This case is very tragic. This was something that, again, could’ve been prevented. I know that I have met with Mr. Baker numerous times, and he is so very sorry that this took place,” said Glassman.

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