Why Did “Lead” Detective Guy Baker Get Tapped To Investigate The Murder Of Lee Nelson?

by Travis Mateer

I’ve been paying close attention as the state makes its case against Charles Michael Covey, so the answer to the question posed in the title of this post probably won’t be as simple as murder cases go to experienced detectives, and Guy Baker has been doing his job for 33 years. That said, I can’t rightly say WHY Baker got this case yet, just how.

When the 911 call came in from the nurse, Dorothy, Officer JC Denton was first on the scene, but it was ultimately Detective Sergeant Rick Stevenson who tapped Detective Guy Baker to take the lead. Is it because Guy Baker has cross-jurisdictional access through his quasi-FBI role? Since “transients” are by definition cross-border drifters (note: many of the homeless DO NOT fit this description), it makes sense that an experienced Detective with specific anti-trafficking interests via his advocacy of the LifeGuard Group would be selected for this job.

While the trial continued yesterday, the anti-trafficking posturing was in full peacock-mode in our state Capitol, as evidenced by the headlines.

From the link (emphasis mine):

Despite a growing tally of law enforcement investigations, no one has ever been convicted under Montana’s human trafficking statute.

A bill proposed to state lawmakers on Wednesday would theoretically give prosecutors a better chance to secure those convictions, Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen told the House Judiciary Committee. Knudsen, former Republican Speaker of House, said the measure is one of his top legislative priorities this session.

“We really haven’t attacked the demand side of what is ultimately an economic problem,” Knudsen said. “These traffickers would not be in Montana trying to do business if there were not a demand for human trafficking victims.”

Yes, there is a DEMAND side to trafficking. I’m glad our Attorney General realizes this. And hilariously, that demand seems to increase during large events, like legislators doing their heavy legislating. Here’s another quote, and more of MY emphasis if the implication isn’t clear enough:

Knudsen said the department’s human trafficking investigations have increased 871% since 2015.

“Does this mean we have more human trafficking happening in Montana now? I actually don’t believe so,” he told the committee. “I think this is a crime that’s always been here, we just didn’t know what it was and frankly we were a little scared to talk about it.”

He said DOJ agents have been able to track online activity related to human trafficking that tend to follow large events in Montana. Sometimes that can be sports events, he said. That online activity has also come to Helena around the time thousands gather here for the legislative session, Knudsen said.

Reading this alarming article, I’m now thinking that it may be a TERRIBLE LOSS that such a high-caliber Detective like Guy Baker is being assigned a mere transient case when he should be in Helena RIGHT NOW sussing out where that demand might be spiking.

I’m sure my opinion of this case will evolve as more information is presented to the jurors, information like how this guy pictured below got eliminated as a suspect.

It’s difficult to talk about sex trafficking without the intermingled reality of drug trafficking, and Jason Edgars seems a bit familiar with the latter, as evidenced by this KGVO article from April of 2021. From the link:

On Tuesday, an off duty Missoula Police Department officer observed 28-year-old Jason Edgar Jr. near the Economy West Trailer Court on West Broadway. The officer recognized Edgar from prior contacts and knew Edgar had an outstanding felony arrest warrant.

A responding officer placed Edgar under arrest and transported him to the detention facility. A detention officer conducted a routine inventory search of Edgar’s backpack. The detention officer located two small baggies of methamphetamine, two glass pipes, and metal pipe cleaning tools with burnt residue on them.

I hope to provide a more detailed account of what I’ve seen this week, and that account might be in the form of a podcast episode. Through some serious technical persistence that I only observed from a distance while strumming a Ukulele, my shit appears to be functioning as intended. Thank you!

Now, these platforms I’m using aren’t the free kind, so please consider making a donation at my about page if you are able, and stay tuned for more to come.

Thanks for reading!

About Travis Mateer

I'm an artist and citizen journalist living and writing in Montana. You can contact me here: willskink at yahoo dot com
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