Arrest warrant issued for former Madera County supervisor Harry Baker

A warrant for former Madera County Supervisor Harry Baker's arrest was issued Thursday after he failed to appear for a court hearing in his long-running child molestation case.

On Aug. 14, Judge Jonathan Conklin ordered Baker, 86, to attend Thursday's hearing in Fresno County Superior Court, and Baker agreed to be at court on time.

But he was no where to be found Thursday morning.

"This is a willful failure to appear," Conklin said after Baker's attorney, Roger Nuttall, said he had no clue to his client's whereabouts.

Conklin also wasn't pleased to learn from Nuttall that Baker did not make two appointments with doctors to help determine whether he was competent to stand trial.

Once arrested, Baker will be held in the Fresno County Jail without bail, Conklin said.

Baker is accused of committing lewd acts on a 13-year-old girl in a Fresno motel room in 2007. Since his arrest in October 2009, he has been free on $50,000 bail.

His trial has been delayed several times because of Baker's declining health, Nuttall said.

On Aug. 14, Conklin suspended criminal proceedings after Baker's lawyers called into question his competency. Conklin then ordered Baker to be evaluated by a pair of court-appointed doctors.

Thursday, Nuttall said his office made appointments with Drs. Harold Seymour and Paula Willis, but Baker never went to see them.

Apologizing to the court, Nuttall said, "I have no knowledge as to why he is not here."

Baker, who is president of Sierra Telephone Co. in Oakhurst, faces a felony charge involving a girl who secretly recorded video of him as he allegedly fondled and kissed her breasts. Baker contends he was ensnared in a blackmail scheme by a band of gypsies and was tricked into touching the girl.

Baker could face up to eight years in prison if he is convicted on the molestation charge.

Nuttall said Thursday that he hadn't spoken to Baker in some time, but one of his staffers talked to Baker in late August. He said Baker still goes to his telephone business but his staff actually runs it.

"I'm not saying he can't carry on a conversation," Nuttall told reporters outside court. "The problem is he can't remember anything about the alleged incident. He can't remember much of anything."

"This is very troublesome to him because he wants to testify," Nuttall added. "But he's afraid that if he can't remember details on the witness stand, then the jury will think he is lying."

Since his arrest, Baker has had open-heart surgery and received an artificial aortic valve, his previous attorney, Richard Berman, has said. Baker also was been the subject of at least three bizarre twists. He made news in June 2013 for firing a gun inside a motel room in Merced. And in September of that year he was reported to be kidnapped -- a claim that was later debunked by authorities.

In March 2012, Baker attended one his court hearings looking beaten up. He said he had been mugged.