Drug conviction gets former murder suspect 7 years behind bars

Casey Grove
Courtesy Anchorage Police Department

An Anchorage man linked to a teenager's death at a party in 2009, then caught last year with drugs he planned to sell in Fairbanks, was sentenced to seven years in prison on Tuesday.

Paul T. Baldwin, 22, pleaded guilty in February to having heroin, both powder and crack cocaine, and marijuana in a vehicle he was driving in late 2012 on the Parks Highway near Talkeetna. Baldwin, already a felon, also pleaded guilty to having a gun in the car.

Baldwin's arrest on the drug charges came about four months after a judge dismissed murder charges against him for the killing of 17-year-old Desirae Douglas during a shootout at an East Anchorage party in 2009, according to state court records. A grand jury had indicted Baldwin and four others in 2011 in the Douglas case, but a lack of evidence caused the case against Baldwin to be dismissed, a state prosecutor said.

A judge dismissed charges of murder, weapons misconduct and assault against Baldwin on Aug. 3. He was released from jail later that month.

On Nov. 26, Baldwin and a woman were driving north of Anchorage on the Parks Highway near Talkeetna when an Alaska State Trooper pulled him over for speeding, according to a plea agreement filed in federal court. Troopers searched the vehicle and found about 109 grams of marijuana, 108 grams of crack cocaine, 20 grams of powder cocaine and nearly 25 grams of heroin in the trunk, the plea agreement says. There was also a .40-caliber handgun in a duffle bag in the trunk, accessible to Baldwin in the driver's seat because "the seat was reclined so far back that it was nearly flat," according to a prosecutor's sentencing memorandum.

"The drug market for illegal narcotics in Fairbanks is significantly different than the market in Anchorage, prices are much higher in Fairbanks. The defendant was clearly headed to Fairbanks in order to maximize his profit margin," wrote the prosecutor, Assistant U.S. Attorney Kelly Cavanaugh.

According to Baldwin's sentencing memorandum, he has been around drugs and drug dealing his entire life. His criminal history -- including two previous felony convictions as an adult for possession of drugs with intent to distribute -- dates back to a similar conviction at age 15, when he was put in foster care, the defense memorandum says. The memorandum says Baldwin hopes to earn his General Educational Development diploma while incarcerated and wants to be able to provide for his 2-year-old son, apparently fathered shortly before Baldwin's arrest in the Desirae Douglas case.

Baldwin's connection to that case was severed when investigators were unable to find solid evidence he was involved in the shootout that killed Douglas, Assistant District Attorney Joshua Kindred said. Douglas, who was 17, attended a raucous house party in East Anchorage that spilled into the street, where two groups of men fired shots at each other. Douglas was hit and killed as she ran from the melee.

Of the five people indicted in Douglas's murder, three remain charged: Parrish Harris, Shearn Joshua and Eon Owens. As with Baldwin, insufficient evidence led a judge to dismiss charges against Julio Batista, who, long before the murder indictment, told the Daily News he was Douglas's boyfriend.


Reach Casey Grove at casey.grove@adn.com or 257-4589.