LANCASTER, S.C. (CN2 NEWS) A former Chester County 911 dispatcher is on trial this week for his wife’s murder almost three years after her death.
Court testimony showed that Judy Orr Baldwin died on December 14th, 2016 from blunt force trauma. Solicitor Candice Lively said the autopsy report showed a 24 centimeter fracture on her skull.
Her husband, James Baldwin, said Orr hurt herself when she fell while decorating a Christmas tree at the couple’s home. Baldwin’s attorney said his client was in the garage getting tools, and when he returned he found Orr on the floor.
“He cleans off her wound like any loving husband would. He realizes, almost immediately, that this is more severe than he can handle,” Baldwin’s attorney said in court.
In opening statements, Baldwin’s attorney said Baldwin was rushing Judy to Piedmont Medical Center when a car crossed into their lane on Old Richburg Road, causing him to lose control and sending Orr into an embankment under a bridge.
A recording of the 911 call Baldwin made was played on the first day of trial. The dispatcher is heard asking Baldwin if he wants to try CPR, and a frantic Baldwin replies that he already has.
“He knows the system, he knows how it works intimately,” said Deputy Solicitor Candice Lively.
Lively questioned why Baldwin chose to take Orr to a hospital 30 minutes away when the Chester Medical Center was just two minutes away. Baldwin’s team argued he was trying to get her to Piedmont because it’s a better medical facility.
Lively painted another picture to the jury, saying Baldwin did not help Orr because he was the one who killed her, later framing the accident to cover up her injuries.
“He doesn’t call 911. This is a dispatcher. He didn’t call her son, who lives right across the street, didn’t call anyone from her family to tell them ‘I am taking your mom to the hospital.’ And there is blood everywhere,” said Lively in her opening statements, “You will see photographs from inside the home where she bled at the fireplace mantle.”
Baldwin’s attorney said there were two autopsy reports done after Judy’s death, and both said her death could have been an accident. It wasn’t until eight months later, the attorney said, that the autopsy report was changed from a possible accident to a homicide.
Lively countered that at the time, the Chester County Sheriff’s Office did not investigate the case properly. Months passed, said Lively, before SLED was allowed to come in and do a thorough investigation.
James Baldwin was formally charged with Judy Orr Baldwin’s death in August of 2018, almost two years after he first made that 911 call.
His trial will continue through this week.