General Crime

* Norman Price Baird Jr denied parole for 1987 murder of Raymond Demel

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A Salinas man in prison for a 1987 murder was denied his request for parole this week, according to Monterey County District Attorney Dean Flippo. Norman Price Baird Jr., 52, was denied parole on Wednesday and will not be eligible again for another 10 years, Flippo said Thursday. This was Baird’s first bid for parole following his conviction in 2004 for the March 8, 1987, murder of Raymond Demel.

Demel, a 49-year-old retired correctional officer and Seaside resident, had been driving home with his wife on Blanco Road near the Salinas River Bridge when he pulled over to the side of the road to take a nap. When his wife had trouble waking him, she flagged down a passing motorist for help. While she was speaking to the motorist, who has since been identified as Baird, Demel’s van rolled forward a short distance and tapped the back of Baird’s pickup truck.

Baird then pulled out a .45-caliber handgun and fired through the driver’s side window into the victim’s chest, before fleeing the scene. Demel’s wife remained the primary suspect in the murder for years, because there was no corroborating evidence to support her story. However, in 2002, a Monterey County Sheriff’s detective got a tip from a friend of Baird’s, who said Baird had asked him to bury the weapon and ammunition in a field near Old Stage Road.

A search of the field unearthed the weapon and ammunition, and detectives were able to link the gun to both Baird and the shooting. Baird entered a no-contest plea to a charge of second-degree murder and was sentenced to 15 years to life on April 28, 2004.

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