Last updated 4:05 p.m.
Jury brings back not guilty verdict
INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — After a two-day trial and approximately two hours and 15 minutes of deliberation, the four-woman, two-man jury came back with a decision to acquit the 52-year-old county administrator of Driving Under the Influence on his way home from a Youth Guidance fundraiser.
“We’re obviously pleased,” said defense attorney Bobby Guttridge. “I think his reputation is still tarnished, but it definitely goes a long way.” Guttridge added, “fortunately for Mr. Baird, he’s been vindicated” and that Baird wants to “get on with doing the business of the County.”
Baird was pulled over by Lt. Matt Harrelson of the Vero Beach Police Department at 10:26 p.m. on Saturday, May 16 just west of 6th Avenue on Miracle Mile and was led through roadside sobriety tests in the Radio Shack parking lot by Officer Jeff Bryson. After performing poorly on numerous different exercises, Baird was taken to the Vero Beach Police Station, where he refused a breathalyzer test. He was taken to the County Jail for the night and released on bail.
Assistant State Attorney David Dodd, who vehemently prosecuted the case, would only comment that “the jury listened to the evidence in the case and came to a decision and I respect that verdict.”
Baird will pay a speeding ticket he received that evening for driving 43 mph in a 30 mph zone.
Prior to the verdict being handed down, Guttridge had asked for a mistrial in the event of a conviction based upon a note handed to Judge David Morgan by the alternate juror who was excused, who said one of the sitting jurors had a life experience of being friends with a jury candidate who had a daughter killed by a drunk driver.