Date set for inquest into death of woman who killed Orangeville teen 

March 30, 2023   ·   0 Comments

By Paula Brown, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

A date has been set for a coroner’s inquest into the death of Terry Baker, an inmate serving a life sentence for her role in the torture and murder of an Orangeville teen. 

Baker, who plead guilty to her part in the 2002 murder of 16-year-old Robbie McLennan, died at St. Mary’s General Hospital in Kitchener on July 6, 2016. She was transferred to the hospital from the Grand Valley Institution for Women after being found unresponsive in her cell. 

In 2017, a coroner’s inquest to examine the events surrounding Baker’s death was announced by then regional supervising coroner for inquests, Dr. David Eden. 

An inquest into Baker’s death is mandatory under the Coroners Act.

Dr. Karen Schiff, regional supervising coroner for west region, announced earlier this month that the inquest would begin on Apr. 11. The inquest is expected to last two weeks and will hear from approximately 12 witnesses. 

“The inquest will examine the events surrounding Ms. Baker’s death,” said a news release from the Ministry of the Solicitor General. “The jury may make recommendations aimed at preventing future deaths from occurring in similar circumstances.” 

The cause of Baker’s death in 2016 has not been specified, but in an interview back in 2016, Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies executive director Kim Pate said Baker was found with a ligature around her neck.

The inquest will start at 9:30 a.m., with Dr. David Eden as the presiding officer and Sidney McLean and Kristin Smith as inquest counsel. 

The inquest will be conducted via video conference and available to view online. 

Baker, who was 16 years old at the time of McLennan’s murder in 2002, was convicted of first-degree murder in 2006 and handed a life sentence. Baker’s then 20-year-old boyfriend, William Bronson Penasse, also plead guilty to first-degree murder in 2005 and was sentenced to life in prison without eligibility for parole until 2030. Another 16-year-old – who was never identified under the Youth Criminal Justice Act – was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to 18 months. 

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