BRATTLEBORO — A local man who prosecutors say shot and killed a Hartford, Conn., man in Brattleboro on Aug. 19, 2022, was arraigned on Friday on 10 charges, including second degree murder, reckless endangerment and dealing drugs.
According to court documents, Nicolas C. Baker, 34, shot and killed Michael R. Ledbetter Jr., 32, at Baker’s apartment at Great River Terrace on Putney Road.
Deputy State’s Attorney Steven Brown said a grand jury handed down the indictments on Thursday.
“The indictments cover the shooting as well as alleged drug activity that was taking place during the period of Jan. 1 through Aug. 19, 2022, at the Great River Terrace,” said Brown, adding the investigation remains open. “The Windham County State’s Attorney encourages any members of the public to come forward to the Brattleboro Police Department if they have information that may be relevant to the investigation.’
Baker told investigators that Ledbetter entered his apartment without permission when a handgun fell out of his pocket. Baker said he picked up the gun and shot Ledbetter. According to the medical examiner’s office, Ledbetter was shot three times.
However, investigators with the Vermont State Police Crime Scene Unit conducted a search of Baker’s residence and recovered a blue, plastic Bersa pistol box with a manufacturer sticker for a Bersa model BP9CC 9 mm pistol, serial number K94815, which matched the pistol recovered by law enforcement in the apartment after the shooting.
Baker was transported to Brattleboro from Southern State Correctional Facility for his arraignment, which lasted a little more than three minutes.
Windham Superior Court Judge Katherine Hayes ordered Baker to continue to be held without bail.
Baker had been on probation for a 2018 conviction for being an accessory to a burglary, receiving a suspended sentence of four to six years.
More recently, he was charged with petty larceny following a June 7, 2022, investigation conducted by officers with the Brattleboro Police Department, who responded to the Agway on Putney Road to a report that someone had stolen several employee bags out of the break room. Using surveillance footage, Baker, a former employee, was identified by police as a man who entered using a back door, leaving with several bags.
Baker is also facing a federal charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Baker’s other convictions include probation violations, cultivating 25-plus marijuana plants, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, and malicious destruction of property.
In 2014, Baker shot a man in the stomach with a 12-gauge shotgun after a dispute at his home in Guilford. He was later acquitted of aggravated assault.
In 2013, he was accused of stabbing a man on Memorial Drive in Cambridge, Mass. Those charges were dismissed after he was taken into custody for the 2014 Guilford shooting.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Connecticut, Ledbetter was sentenced in July 2021 to 27 months in jail for distributing cocaine and marijuana while on federal supervised release.
At the time of his federal sentencing, Ledbetter had been in jail since November 2019, when he was found to be in possession of about 11 pounds of marijuana, 119 grams of cocaine and $4,750 in cash.
He was released on supervision in October 2021. But in May 2022, his parole officer asked the court to revoke his release, because he was involved in a shootout at a memorial service in Hartford on April 18.
Repeated attempts were made to contact Ledbetter and to get him to appear in court. On Aug. 23, four days after the shooting death, the federal court declared moot a motion to revoke Ledbetter’s parole.