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Sentencing delayed for Templeton man accused of molestation

Donald R. Baker, 39, of Templeton was arrested Friday, Oct. 8, 2010, on suspicion of lewd or lascivious acts with a child under the age of 14, incest, possessing material depicting a minor under the age of 14 engaging in or simulating a sexual act, lewd or lascivious acts against children and an outstanding warrant. Original story »
Plea: Not guilty to all charges. What's next: Preliminary Hearing scheduled for 11/10/10.
Donald R. Baker, 39, of Templeton was arrested Friday, Oct. 8, 2010, on suspicion of lewd or lascivious acts with a child under the age of 14, incest, possessing material depicting a minor under the age of 14 engaging in or simulating a sexual act, lewd or lascivious acts against children and an outstanding warrant. Original story » Plea: Not guilty to all charges. What's next: Preliminary Hearing scheduled for 11/10/10.

A Templeton man scheduled to be sentenced Monday on a no-contest plea to child molestation and possession of child pornography was hospitalized for a medical procedure and had his sentencing delayed.

Donald Baker, 40, was scheduled to appear in San Luis Obispo Superior Court on Monday. He remains free on bail.

Instead, his cardiologist spoke to the court in a conference call, giving insight into Baker’s medical condition, which Judge Barry LaBarbera inquired about during the hearing.

Baker faces 10 to 20 years in state prison as part of his plea of no contest to the felony charges that involve molestations of two victims. A no-contest plea results in a conviction without an admission of guilt.

LaBarbera wanted to hear from Baker’s physician about his medical needs and whether he would survive if the defendant were sent to state prison sometime this week. There, he would have access to medical attention.

The judge also wanted to know whether Baker would need any specialized medical attention while he remains out on bail leading up to his pending incarceration.

Baker has lung cancer and has undergone multiple procedures to drain fluid from a sac around his heart, including an operation on Monday.

Three scheduled sentencing hearings were postponed last week because of his medical issues.

Baker is scheduled to appear before LaBarbera at 1:30 p.m. today.

LaBarbera spoke with Dr. Andrew Dennish on a speakerphone in court and listened to the physician explain how a buildup of fluid in the sac around Baker’s heart could lead to cardiac arrest.

The physician told LaBarbera that the fluid could rebuild in the sac about 72 hours after being drained.

But monitoring of vital signs such as heart rate, blood pressure and breathing could prevent a heart attack, Dennish said.

LaBarbera said he wanted to talk with the doctor who performed the drainage, Mark Bocchicchio, to find out more about the defendant’s health.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The headlines on this story has been corrected to remove that Baker has been convicted. Conviction would not take place until sentencing and the case being final.

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