Levi Baker

Levi Baker

IDAHO FALLS — A local man has been sentenced to a minimum of five years in prison for raping and impregnating a teenage girl.

Levi Baker, 31, of Idaho Falls, was arrested in November after the victim reported Baker had given her Melatonin gummies in December 2017 and that she later woke up feeling “sore and gross.” The victim, who was 17 when she gave birth, said she doesn’t remember having sex with Baker, but said she had sex with no one else and that he was the only one who could have impregnated her.

The victim also described an incident from May when Baker locked her in a room until she agreed to have sex with him. The victim said she was afraid she could not leave unless she said yes. A roommate walked in on the rape and forced Baker out of the house.

Baker went to great lengths to avoid charges, including washing his mouth with dog saliva to cheat a DNA test and convincing the victim to lie to police and say she became pregnant after being raped by four unknown men.

Bonneville County Chief Deputy Prosecutor John Dewey said Baker had taken a polygraph examination while in jail that indicated he was dishonest, including to questions about whether there were other victims or if he had tried to find child pornography.

“He was asked eight questions, and he didn’t have a single one of those questions where he gave an answer the polygrapher could say there are no reactions on that questions,” Dewey said.

Dewey said Baker’s repeated dishonesty and the seriousness of the crime ruled out a probation or retained-jurisdiction sentencing. He said the victim had to drop out of high school to care for the child.

Defense Attorney Tyler Salvesen said his client was remorseful for his actions despite a presentence investigator who concluded otherwise.

Salvesen also cited Baker’s military service, saying his client suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder. He acknowledged his client attempted to undermine the investigation but said he did come clean in the end.

“Ultimately Mr. Baker realized what he’d done was wrong,” Salvesen said.

District Judge Bruce Pickett said he considered Baker’s PTSD as a mitigating factor, but that his behavior showed criminal intent. Pickett cited the presentence investigation in which Baker took pride in the people he had “beat up” throughout his life, as well as his attempts to fool the DNA test.

Pickett sentenced Baker to five to 15 years in prison. He will have to register as a sex offender upon release.

Reporter Johnathan Hogan can be reached at 208-542-6746.