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Florida Jury Quickly Convicts Matthew Terry of Murdering Teacher Girlfriend as She Tried to Escape Deadly Attack


A Hillsborough County, Florida jury on Tuesday quickly and unanimously convicted Matthew Terry, 47, of murdering 43-year-old third grade math and science teacher Kay Baker as she tried to escape him earlier in 2022.

The jury in the capital case only needed one hour and 10 minutes to find Terry guilty of first-degree murder in the stabbing death of his then-girlfriend.

Authorities said Baker and Terry were together at the Landing Bar & Grill on May 27, 2022, the night of the murder. Terry had become upset that Baker danced with another man at the bar.

“I saw you dancing with that guy,” the defendant said, according to a witness.

Early the next morning, a neighbor claimed to hear screaming and found Baker dead on the lawn outside, according to a redacted affidavit. She had tried to escape Terry through a window. Authorities said Baker’s throat was cut and that a lone kitchen knife was missing from a butcher block holder.

Investigators followed a trail of blood to Terry in overgrown brush and trees. He was “found only wearing a t-shirt and underwear soaked in apparent blood.”

He had lacerations on his fingers and hands, as well as superficial cuts to his arm, authorities said.

“The defendant also had two apparent stab wounds along each side of his neck, which appeared to be symmetrical and clean punctures,” authorities said. “The defendant declined to make any statements without legal representation.”

Earlier on Tuesday, Terry’s ex-girlfriend Michelle Rogers took the witness stand and told jurors that Terry also stabbed her in the neck with a knife back on St. Patrick’s Day in 2017.

Rogers said that she left Terry at a bar after he got too intoxicated. When he returned home angry hours later, he knocked her to the floor, punched her in the face, chest, and back, and used wrestling moves to try and keep her on the ground.

“I love you why are you doing this?” Rogers said she yelled.

“No you don’t, fuck you, I’m going to kill you,” Terry answered.

Though his defense attempted to claim that Rogers was somehow motivated by money, Terry in fact served three years in a Michigan prison for attacking his ex.

Now that he’s been convicted of murdering Baker, Terry faces potential punishment as severe as the death penalty.

The penalty phase is set to begin at 9 a.m. on Wednesday.

Terry ultimately declined to testify in his own defense at trial, citing his attorney’s advice. Nonetheless, he insisted that he had the “desire” to testify.

[Image via Law&Crime Network]

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Matt Naham is the Senior A.M. Editor of Law&Crime.