Va. authorities charge W.Va. suspect in 1980 murder - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Va. authorities charge W.Va. suspect, Ronald Cloud, in 1980 murder of Brad Baker

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Ronald Cloud Ronald Cloud
Brad Baker Brad Baker

A man serving a life sentence for kidnapping has confessed to a 1980 murder of a farm manager.

64-year-old Ronald Cloud was charged Tuesday with the murder of Brad Baker on New Year's Eve.

Investigators say Baker was killed because he fired Cloud's stepfather.

When Baker was shot on New Year's Eve in 1980, there were numerous theories on the motive. One of the leading theories had detectives chasing a romantic link based upon the wounds to his body. He had been shot between the legs.

But in a recent interview, Cloud told investigators it was much simpler than that. Cloud said he shot Baker because it meant the family would lose their home.

We were not welcome at Kinloch Farm Tuesday afternoon as we attempted to photograph the entrance from a public road. The owners apparently did not want anything to do with the publicity of a murder on the property 32 years ago.

Cloud now admits it was he who carried a shotgun onto the property and confronted the 30-year-old Baker.

"At that time, I would estimate that the actual farm operation had about 50 employees and over a thousand acres of land, and a significant number of employees lived on the farm as did Mr. Baker," said Fauquier County Commonwealth's Attorney Jim Fisher.

Investigators soon learned Baker had fired an employee on New Year's Eve, but there was this perplexing gunshot wound to his groin. It was a vexing clue that would keep investigators busy for years.

"There was no motivation of a romantic nature or a sexual nature whatsoever," said Fisher.

There was an exchange of gunfire on the farm that night with investigators concluding three guns were used.

The Commonwealth's attorney acknowledged there could be more arrests.

At a news conference in Warrenton this afternoon, Baker's older sister thanked investigators for never giving up and delivering the family some justice.

"Nothing is going to bring Brad back," said Blythe Patenaude, Baker's sister. "It's been a terrible emptyness for us. The peace comes in an affirmation and support of our justice system."

Patenaude said her brother had a passion for farming and was working on innovative ways to do it when he was killed.

According to a court affidavit, Cloud told investigators his stepfather was not involved in the murder. But the loss of his job meant the family could be without a home in the dead of winter.

According to online records, Cloud has been in prison since 1988, serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole in West Virginia. He has been a suspect in this case since 1995.

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