Georgia man arrested and charged with murdering a law student in 23-year-old cold case

A Georgia man was recently charged with murdering a 23-year-old first-year law student Tara Louise Baker and subsequently setting her apartment on fire 23 years ago, according to the New York Post.

Edrick Lamont Faust, 48, was denied bond in Athens after he was charged with murder, two counts of felony murder, one count of aggravated assault, concealing the death of another, arson, possession of a knife during the commission of a felony, tampering with evidence, and a single count of aggravated sodomy.

Baker was ultimately found dead in her apartment on January 19, 2001, after emergency responders were called to the scene due to a fire that was later discovered to be arson, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

“Tara Louise Baker was a hardworking student with a bright future ahead of her.”

In September 2023, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s cold case unit reportedly partnered with Athens-Clarke County police to carry out an “in-depth review and analysis of the ongoing investigation into Baker’s death.”

Faust was arrested on Friday.

GBI Director Chris Hosey said, “Tara Louise Baker was a hardworking student with a bright future ahead of her. Tara’s life was stolen from her in a horrific act of violence. While this arrest does not bring her back to us, I pray that it helps bring closure to the Baker family as they continue their healing journey.”

“I am proud of the work of the GBI Cold Case Unit and the GBI agents and scientists that devoted their efforts over the last 23 years to find justice for Tara. I also want to express my gratitude to Athens Clarke-County investigators and members of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Georgia State Patrol who have partnered with us in this case. While this arrest is the first step in finding justice for Tara, there is still more work to be done. The GBI and our partners will never stop fighting for justice for victims and their families.”

Jerry Saulters — now the Chief of the Athens-Clarke County Police Department who was an officer at the crime scene in 2001— commented on the development, saying: “For many years, I have hoped the Baker family would find justice for the loss of Tara.”

“This is a case that has lived with me throughout my career at ACCPD. I remember being there during that horrific time. Seeing this case now full circle, I appreciate the hard work of the detectives, from then and now. Knowing that the evidence collected at that time contributed to the arrest today gives me tremendous pride in all the officers who worked this case over the years.”

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