In Memoriam | K9 BakerThis Web page is dedicated to the memory of K-9 Baker. Baker was Sweeny's first drug dog, a male black Labrador Retriever, who was stolen and killed by two teenagers in 1993. All of the information contained in this account is from the actual case files at the Sweeny Police Department.
in late 1989, the Sweeny Police Department, through contributions from the community totaling $4,500, became only the second police agency in Brazoria County to have a drug dog on its force. Only the Brazoria County Sheriff's Department had drug detection dogs in the county. Officer Baker, a black Labrador Retriever, was purchased and trained for narcotics detection purposes. The dog lived with Sweeny Police Officer Richard Morales at his home in Sweeny.
It was just another Saturday night in Sweeny. The date was April 3, 1993. Officer Blaine Slaughter was working the night shift. Captain Percy Truitt, a reserve officer, was also patrolling that night. It was a quite, rainy night. Few calls, no tickets issued, and no arrests made.
Richard left Huntsville en route to Sweeny to find the dog. Terry then called Officer Slaughter, the duty officer from the previous shift, and advised him of the missing dog. Officer Slaughter told her that Captain Truitt picked up a black lab on last night's shift. The dog was taken to the city pound. Terry called Captain Truitt and advised him of the missing dog. Terry asked Captain Truitt if the black lab he picked up could have been K-9 Officer Baker. Captain Truitt could not be sure.
At 9:45 a.m., Terry notified Officer Wilford Goble, the officer on duty, that the police department's drug dog was missing. She went on to explain that Captain Truitt put a black lab in the pound last night. She requested he check the pound to determine if the dog was K-9 Officer Baker. Officer Goble went to the pound, but determined the dog was not K-9 Officer Baker. A search of the city and surrounding areas was unsuccessful in locating K-9 Officer Baker. A police case file was opened and assigned report number 3128-0493.
Several teletype message were sent out to area police departments to be on the lookout for the missing dog. See the three messages below.
Over the next five months, the police department received numerous tips and information calls, but not enough to identify a suspect in the case or to make an arrest. Then, on September 28, 1993, a 17-year-old witness came forward. He gave a signed, sworn statement to police naming two 18-year-old suspects: Christopher Dwayne Davidson and Bryan Travis Burt. The text of his statement read:
On October 21, 2003, at about 1:00 p.m., Chris Davidson came to the police department at the request of Jerry Murphy, the Chief of Police. Chief Murphy advised Davidson of his Miranda Rights and interviewed Davidson. Davidson confessed his involvement in the theft and killing of the drug dog. The text of his statement read:
On October 21, 2003, at about 3:30 p.m., police were able to contact Serge Jacques. Serge agreed to give a statement about his knowledge of the incident. The text of his statement read:
Now that police had two witnesses who had come forward and given statements, and a confession had been given by one of the suspects, arrest warrants could be sought for the arrest of Davidson and Burt.
This location was later confirmed by both suspects and other witnesses as the location of Baker's death. The area of disturbed grass in the two crime scene photographs above show the area of the recovery.
On October 23, 1993, police applied for and received three arrest warrants. Davidson was charged with Theft, a Third Degree Felony. Burt was charged with Theft, a Third Degree Felony and Criminal Mischief, a Third Degree Felony. All charges carried a punishment of imprisonment from 2-10 years and a fine of up to $10,000.
After obtaining the warrants, Sweeny Police were informed that Bryan Burt was living in Port Lavaca, Calhoun County, Texas. The Calhoun County Sheriff's Department was contacted and were requested to attempt to locate and arrest Burt on the outstanding warrants.
Burt was transported back to Sweeny. He was taken before Judge Jerry Phillips of the Sweeny Municipal Court and arraigned for felony theft and felony criminal mischief. His bond was set at $15,000 for each charge. After arraignment, Burt was transported to the West Columbia jail where he was booked and jailed. Prior to his incarceration, Burt gave a written confession. The text of his statement read:
The case file was delivered to the Brazoria County District Attorney's Office in Angleton on December 6, 1993 for the prosecution of the accused.
Davidson's cause number in Brazoria County District Court was 26,926G. Burt's cause number was 26,927G.
On January 11, 1994, the cases against both defendants were presented to a grand jury. After hearing the case facts, the grand jury indicted both Davidson and Burt.
On June 7, 1994, Christopher Davidson pled guilty to Theft, a Third Degree Felony. He was sentenced to six (6) years probation and ordered to pay $7,500 in restitution to the City of Sweeny.
Burt was tried by a jury and was found guilty on September 7, 1994. He was sentenced to 180 days in jail, ordered to pay a $5,000 fine, ordered to pay $7,500 in restitution to the City of Sweeny, ordered to pay $2,500 to the SPCA, ordered to pay $50 to Crimestoppers, ordered to get his GED, and ordered to perform 600 hours of community service. He also received a suspended five (5) year prison sentence.
Both Davidson and Burt were ordered to write a letter of apology to the Sweeny Police Department, which they did.
However, just two years later, both Davidson and Burt failed to comply with probation requirements, and both were sentenced to four (4) years each in the Institutional Division of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDC). Of the $7,500 in restitution owed by Bryan Burt, only $1,200 was paid. Of the $7,500 in restitution owed by Christopher Davidson, only $2,800 was paid.
The abduction and beating death of K-9 Baker in 1993 was undoubtedly the most notorious and villainous crime in Sweeny's history, a crime that touched everyone in Sweeny. Although neither Davidson nor Burt gave investigators a reason for killing K-9 Baker, his death was the result of at least one factor: he was a police drug dog. Whether drugs or alcohol were involved, or whether revenge was the key motive---we'll probably never know. It can be said with certainty, though, that Christopher Dwayne Davidson and Bryan Travis Burt will remain Sweeny's most infamous criminals for their cruel, cowardly, and inhumane treatment of Sweeny's first police drug dog, K-9 Baker.
The Sweeny Police Department hopes to further memorialize K-9 Baker with a monument, plaque, or other special tribute at the police station in the coming years.
123 N. Oak Street, Sweeny, Texas, 77480, USA
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Last updated on 07-08-2014
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