A woman testified Thursday that Jason Baker killed David Queen earlier this year because Baker believed Queen had cost him his job.
Kimberly Caldwell, 38, who police say was also in Queen's house when he was murdered, pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice and agreed to testify against Baker.
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After presenting the plea to Lake County Associate Judge George Bridges, Assistant State's Attorney Marykay Foy had Caldwell sworn in to preview her testimony.
Caldwell said she and Baker, who were dating, rented a room from Queen in his house on the 40200 block of Deep Lake Road.
She said Baker had been making threats against Queen after he believed he had been fired from his job at a liquor store because Queen had called the store owner and said Baker was stealing liquor.
In the early morning hours of Feb. 4, Caldwell said, she was in her bedroom when she heard Queen call her name and rushed into the kitchen.
She said she saw Baker struggling with the 70-year-old man and watched as Baker stabbed Queen once in the chest with a kitchen knife.
"I tried to get in between them," Caldwell said. "I tried to stop Jason by grabbing his arm, but he pushed me back."
Caldwell said she retreated to her bedroom, turned on the television and put her hands over her ears, but Baker came in a short time later and told her to get her things together.
They left Queen's house, Caldwell said, and drove to Wisconsin, where they purchased some gas for Baker's car.
They then checked into a motel, Caldwell said, and left the next morning for Kentucky, where she had told co-workers she intended to move.
Lake County sheriff's police had alerted Kentucky officials the couple could be heading their way, and Baker and Caldwell were taken into custody in Knox County the day after the murder.
Baker is held on $4 million bond and faces a sentence of 20 to 60 years if convicted of Queen's murder.
He is due to appear in court July 6.
Caldwell did not received a guaranteed sentence in exchange for agreeing to testify against Baker, and she faces up to three years in prison when she returns to court Aug. 10.
She had been held on $400,000 bond since her arrest, but after she entered her plea, Bridges agreed to release her on her signature and allow her to live in Hazard County, Ken., until she has to appear in court again.