Friend identifies victim in Manitou Springs homicide; details revealed

Details revealed in Manitou Springs murder

MANITOU SPRINGS, Colo. - The victim in Manitou Springs' first murder in nearly six years was identified by a friend who says he didn't deserve to die the way he did.

Manitou Springs police found a man unconscious in a kiddie pool full of water around 12:30 a.m. Thursday just outside 601 Manitou Ave. He died later that afternoon. Two men are in custody and face first-degree murder charges.

Jahiah Gosney said the victim is his best friend, Jimmie Baker.

 This is the first murder in nearly six years for the small community of Manitou Springs, and it was an emotional day for friends of Baker's. 

“He was a good person and he didn’t deserve to die like that, at the hands of two murderers,” said Gosney. 

When Jahiah and his friends heard that Jimmie was in the hospital, they immediately went to visit him.  

“When we got there, the bed was empty, and he was gone," Gosney said. "The receptionist said, 'I’m sorry, he didn’t make it.'”

Johiah knows he will always have the memories, “hanging out, and drinking beers together, and just talking.” 

The two individuals arrested were Freddie Crespo and John Swinehart. Their first appearance in court will take place on May 20.

According to an arrest affidavit, a witness told police that Crespo was beating Baker in the yard and then threw him into the pool.

Police interviewed Crespo, and he initially said he had no idea what happened and suggested that Baker was drunk. Eventually, he took more responsibility and claimed that he "dragged" Baker outside of the apartment on Manitou Ave. because Baker had allegedly assaulted Crespo's girlfriend.

Police later interviewed Crespo's girlfriend, and she said she "did not feel as if she had been assaulted at all."

Crespo again denied striking Baker, only telling police that he threw him into the pool and then went back inside to go to sleep. The police officer asked to see Crespo's hands, and noted that they were bruised and swollen. Coincidentally, the same officer had an interaction with Crespo earlier that same night, and Crespo alleged that he was attacked in downtown Manitou Springs. The officer noted at that time that Crespo's hands weren't swollen then.

Swinehart was also interviewed by police, and he admitted to helping Crespo drag Baker's body into the pool after Crespo severely beat him. Swinehart said he and Crespo were in the home when Crespo's girlfriend allegedly said Baker tried to rape her. That's when Crespo "went into the other room, grabbed Baker by his legs, and drug him outside," according to the affidavit.

Outside, Crespo hit Baker in the face, stomped on his chest, and kicked him in the chest. Crespo then told Swinehart to help him move Baker's body and said he was going to "end Mr. Baker," according to the affidavit.

Crespo told Swinehart, "Help me. Don't be a b****," according to the court document. Swinehart said he didn't like to be called that, so he helped Crespo move Baker's body.

Crespo and Swinehart went back inside the house and went to sleep, according to the affidavit. Baker's body was left outside while snow flurried around him and temperatures dropped to the mid-30s.

The two suspects are facing first-degree murder charges and were booked into the El Paso County Criminal Justice Center.

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