A second-degree murder charge against the 20-year-old Bradenton man accused of fatally stabbing and beating with a hammer a 56-year-old Sarasota man last month has been formally filed, according to court documents.
The State Attorney’s Office filed a charge reduction on Jan. 27.
According to the probable cause affidavit, Manatee County sheriff’s deputies found former professor Hollant Maxford Adrien, 56, laying face down in the road in the 2100 block of 58th Avenue East around 6 a.m. on Jan. 11.
Detectives said Baer was seen with Adrien in his car that morning. In a post-Miranda interview, according to the sheriff’s office, Baer said Adrien was making unwanted sexual advances toward him, so he stabbed Adrien in the neck and they began to fight outside of the car. The 20-year-old then said he hit Adrien in the head at least 40 times with a hammer, according to the sheriff’s office.
That night, Adrien’s stolen car was spotted in Lakewood Ranch. When Baer, who was driving the car, saw law enforcement nearby, he sped at least 85 mph south in the northbound lanes of Lakewood Ranch Boulevard and hit a pole, according to court documents.
The steering wheel and gear shift had been wrapped in plastic, according to court documents, and contents of Adrien’s car had been found in Baer’s friend’s recycling bin.
According to the Florida Legislature, the difference of the murder charges lies in the intent. Second-degree murder is committed lacking “premeditated design,” as opposed to first-degree murder.
In addition to the second-degree murder charge, Baer faces a charge of fleeing a law enforcement officer, which is a second-degree felony.