On The Case With Paula Zahn travels to Chester County in South Carolina to investigate the December 2016 murder of Judy Orr Baldwin.
Her murderer was husband, James “Jamie” Baldwin, a former police officer and a dispatcher at the Chester County Sheriff’s Office for a decade.
Investigators believe he beat his wife to death and then tried to cover up her injuries by faking a car crash.
On December 14, 2016, 911 operators received a call from Jamie Baldwin to say he and Judy had been in a crash. He told the dispatcher, “we ran off the bridge. We need help. I don’t think my wife’s breathing.”
When the first responders arrived on the scene, James Baldwin said to them, “please save my wife.” Unfortunately, she was already dead. When questioned further, he said he’d hit his head and didn’t know what had happened to Judy.
Baldwin subsequently told officers that Judy had been putting up Christmas decorations when she fell and hit her head. He told them the accident happened as he was driving her to the Piedmont Medical Center.
Investigators didn’t believe James Baldwin’s version of events
However, some of the investigators were very suspicious of his story; for one thing, there was too much blood in the car; it was inconsistent with a crash.
There were other issues with his story; the Chester Medical Center had been closer to them than Piedmont. Also, why hadn’t the 911 dispatcher dialed 911 from their home, and why hadn’t he told Judy’s son, who lived across the street, what had happened?
The case was taken over by State Law Enforcement Division agents (SLED) and S.C. Highway Patrol troopers after the Chester County Sheriff’s Office was deemed not to be investigating the death properly.
Prosecutors would later accuse former Sheriff Alex Underwood of not doing a thorough investigation due to his friendship with Baldwin.
An autopsy revealed that Judy had a 24-centimeter fracture in her skull, which had been caused by a blunt object. SLED officers also discovered evidence of a large amount of blood at the Baldwin home.
Investigators also learned that Baldwin’s marriage had become strained, and there were rumors that he was having an affair with another woman. After Judy’s death, he moved in with a woman named Teri King.
The pair denied having an affair, but text messages between the two indicated that they possibly had a sexual relationship.
Almost two years after Judy’s death, Baldwin was arrested in August 2018 and charged with her murder. After a trial in November 2019, he was found guilty of murder and sentenced to life in prison.
A jeep swerves off a dark stretch of road in South Carolina and takes the life of Judy Orr Baldwin, a loving mother. But when law enforcement arrives, they discover evidence suggesting the accident wasn't the cause of her death. A terrifying question came into focus; was Judy Orr Baldwin murdered? "Lying in the Darkness", an all-new episode of On the Case with Paula Zahn premieres next Sunday, June 26th at 10 pm/9c on Investigation Discovery!
Posted by Paula Zahn on Friday, July 10, 2020
More from On The Case With Paula Zahn
Follow the links to read about more murders investigated by Paula Zahn.
Police believe that in 1979, Dennis Eagle followed Betty Elias back to her apartment in Oakland, Ca., where he raped and murdered her. He evaded justice for the crime for a staggering 37 years before DNA evidence finally caught up with him.
Previously Paula Zahn examined the shocking case of sexual predator Randy May, who, while posing as a police officer, persuaded two teenage girls to get into his car. He raped and murdered Mary Jones; he also raped Mitzi Sizemore before tying her to a tree and leaving her to die.
On The Case With Paula Zahn airs Sundays at 10/9c on Investigation Discovery.