Baston sentenced to 40 years

Wanda English Burnett


Robert Baston, 41, of Milan, will be spending the next 40 years in prison for Child Molesting, a Class A Felony.

Circuit Court Judge Carl Taul said he saw no mitigating factors when looking at information concerning Baston. Looking at Baston’s criminal record, the fact he violated the conditions of release earlier and was incarcerated again, made the Judge say he (Baston) “has an apparent disregard for the authority of the court.”

Baston’s mother, Sondra Strezeski, testified that sending her son to prison for a lengthy stay would be a hardship on her. She said she was in the end stages of COPD and is also in a wheelchair due to having one leg amputated. She noted that the defendant was her caregiver, along with his wife.

However, the Judge said he wasn’t sure Baston would be a proper person to care for his mother.

The 40-year sentence is a guarantee that Baston will have to serve at least 34 years. He will get one day credit for every six years he serves, making him 75-years-old before he could get out.

According to Ripley Publishing Co. files, Baston was found guilty of molesting a child by a jury following a three-day trial.

The jury believed the six-year-old’s testimony of how Baston took her on a 4-wheeler ride in a secluded area and sexually molested her. She immediately told adults about the situation upon returning to the home of the defendant’s mother, where a summer pool party was taking place. The jury also believed the DNA evidence presented by the State concerning the case.

The defendant showed no emotion throughout his trial by jury, when the verdict was given, and when the sentence was imposed. However, he did break down and cry when he hugged his mother as he was escorted from the courtroom following the sentencing by Sheriff Tom Grills and Major David Pippin of the Ripley County Sheriff’s Office.

Prosecutor Ric Hertel was pleased with the sentence. He, along with the probation department had recommended the 40-year sentence, and was glad to see it imposed.