State drops lunch fraud case against Gloria Baker

Gloria and Chester Baker

Gloria and Chester Baker

ALBANY, Ga. — State prosecutors have dropped all school lunch fraud charges against former Morningside Elementary Principal Gloria Baker while her husband, John Baker, pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor counts on Friday.

Their cases were heard by Dougherty Superior Court Chief Judge Willie Lockette.

The Bakers were arrested in late 2011 on charges of making false statements and theft by taking in obtaining free school meals for their children. The couple was indicted by a Dougherty grand jury on two separate occasions.

In the motion to drop the charges against Gloria Baker, South Georgia Assistant District Attorney Heather Lanier wrote:

“Though sufficient probable cause existed to justify arrest, it is the opinion of the undersigned that sufficient evidence does not exist to obtain a conviction from a unanimous 12-person jury to a standard of beyond all reasonable doubt. Co-defendent plead (sic) guilty and accepted all responsibility.”

Gloria Baker’s attorney, Howard Stiller, said the case against his client was a waste of time and money.

“The state was backed into a corner with a case that lacked evidence, and it only took them two years to figure it out,” Stiller said.

When asked if Gloria Baker could comment on the dropped charges, Stiller said he would advise his client not to talk because the state’s Professional Standards Commission still has to consider her case.

Gloria Baker remains employed by the Dougherty County School System as the assistant coordinator at Albany Early College.

After his guilty plea, Locket sentenced John Baker to probation and restitution.

After his guilty plea, Lockette sentenced John Baker to probation and restitution.