Tuesday, July 16

Roommate of murder victim faces charges

Roommate of murder victim faces charges

By Marie Blanchard

Daily Bruin Contributor

Nathan Blalock, 28, will be facing murder charges this week for
the slaying of Ronald Baker, a UCLA student who was brutally killed
in June, 1990.

Blalock, who was one of Baker’s roommates, is being charged with
murder under "special circumstances," according to Rick Jackson of
the Los Angeles police homicide division.

These special circumstances include luring Baker to an abandoned
tunnel under false pretenses and then murdering him for financial
gain. If convicted, Baker faces life imprisonment without
possibility of parole.

Blalock is accused of having stabbed Baker 18 times and then
leaving him in a Chatsworth Park tunnel. Baker, who was 21, was a
senior astrophysics student.

Blalock’s arrest marks the end of a long investigation. At first
police believed the murder was part of an occult sacrifice
involving the "Mystics Circle," a registered UCLA group of which
Baker was a member.

Since the murder occurred an hour after summer solstice, police
thought that the "Mystic Circle," also known as the Bruins for
Metaphysical Inquiry, might be involved.

Police also believed other possible motives might have been
robbery and kidnapping since Baker’s parents had received two
ransom notes, one sent before the body was found and one after.
Both notes demanded $100,000 dollars.

But as time went by, investigators received no new leads and the
case languished. Police had begun to question one of Baker’s
roommates, Duncan Martinez, but he disappeared shortly after the

About two years later Martinez reappeared with an attorney. He
confessed that he and Baker’s other roommate, Nathaniel Blalock,
had been involved in the slaying.

Police reported that Martinez claimed that he and Blalock had
gotten the idea to kidnap Baker and demand a ransom from his
parents, after they saw a similar scenario on a television show.
Martinez also claimed that he thought Blalock was just kidding when
he proposed the idea since they both knew that Baker’s parents
didn’t have enough money to pay the ransom.

According to Deputy District Attorney Serling Norris, Blalock
decided to kill Baker once they sent a kidnapping note.

"Their theory was that they were going to kill the victim first,
so they couldn’t be identified, or so there wouldn’t be any
difficulties with having him around when they made ransom

Early one evening on June 21, 1990, Blalock and Martinez brought
Baker to a tunnel in Chatsworth Park, Martinez admitted.

Martinez claimed that as they were walking through the tunnel
Blalock stumbled and Baker made a remark. At this point, Blalock
turned to Baker and attacked him with a knife, stabbing him 18
times and then cutting his throat, both Blalock and Martinez have

They then poured beer over the scene to eliminate fingerprints.
Martinez said that then they went home and threw away their bloody
clothes and the knife in a nearby dumpster.

Once Martinez came forward with this new information, police
tracked down Blalock. They found him at the Riverside County Jail,
where he was serving time for a robbery conviction. Once police
said that Martinez was willing to testify against him, Blalock
confessed to stabbing Baker, but he claimed that Martinez had
originally come up with the idea.

An autopsy report confirmed the account. William Sherry, the
senior deputy medical examiner found traces of AB blood type under
Baker’s fingernails. Blalock was found to have AB blood type, the
rarest blood type there is.

Sherry also concluded that cuts on Baker’s hands were caused by
"somebody struggling or trying to protect themselves in some
fashion from being stabbed."

In 1993, Blalock was indicted for murder by a Grand Jury, but
his defense has not been ready to go to trial until this week,
Jackson said.

A jury will be picked Thursday for the case and testimony should
begin early next week. Blalock is pleading "not guilty," Jackson
said. Martinez will be tried separately because "they have
different types of evidence," Jackson said.

One of the pieces of evidence used will be a tape recording of a
conversation that Martinez had with Blalock regarding the case in
1993. Martinez agreed to hide a tape recorder in his briefcase
during the conversation in hopes of getting a lesser sentence from
police. In the recording, Blalock admits to having stabbed

Blalock is currently in police custody because of prior
offenses, Jackson said.Comments to [email protected]

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  • Laura Tieffel

    These special circumstances include luring Baker to an abandoned
    tunnel under false pretenses and then murdering him for financial
    gain.(( If convicted, Baker faces life imprisonment without
    possibility of parole.))

    Now that’s what I call I typo!!! Baker got worse then life imprisonment. He’s the victim!!!

    • Konrad

      “got worse then imprisonment.”

      Now, that’s what I call confusion of homophones!!! Talk about “typos”!

  • James Dockery

    I knew the victim. He was an awesome friend. So glad his killers were bought to justice.