WARRENTON, Va. -- A man serving a life term in West Virginia for kidnapping and sexual assault confessed to a slaying in Virginia that had remained unsolved for more than three decades, according to court records.
Ronald R. Cloud, 65, is charged with murder in the New Year's Eve 1980 killing of Brad Baker on the same day Cloud's stepfather had been fired by Baker, who was the manager of Kinlock Farm. The 2,000-acre estate in Virginia's horse country was owned by relatives of Stephen Currier of the famed Currier and Ives prints and philanthropist Andrew Mellon.
Cloud made a brief appearance in Fauquier County General District Court this week to be assigned an attorney and to schedule a preliminary hearing on the charges of first-degree murder, burglary with intent to murder, use of a firearm in commission of a felony and malicious shooting into an occupied building. His next court appearance is expected April 30.
Baker, the newly hired manager of Kinlock Farm, was found with shots to his head and groin, with the front door window panes smashed out of the two-story farmhouse where he lived. Cloud's stepfather, a farm worker, had been fired by Baker on the day of the shooting.
The dismissal of Cloud's stepfather meant that his mother and stepfather would be evicted from their home, FauquierNow.com (http://bit.ly/ZpSCtK) reported, citing court documents.
Cloud went to Baker's residence and the two exchanged words. When Baker fled to the rear of the house, Cloud followed and "in an exchange of gunfire, he shot Mr. Baker," sheriff's investigator Cory Ashby wrote in an affidavit seeking Cloud's arrest. Baker got off one shot before he was killed.
The documents also revealed that two people fired shots at Baker, one using a shotgun and the other a .38-caliber pistol, apparently after his slaying.
Fauquier Commonwealth's Attorney Jim Fisher and the sheriff's department have refused to comment on the possibility of a second shooter, FauquierNow reported. Cloud's stepfather, however, "had no involvement" in Baker's slaying, Ashby wrote in court documents.
Katherine Martell, Cloud's attorney, did not immediately respond to a telephone message left Friday by The Associated Press.
West Virginia records show Cloud is listed as a prisoner in the Mount Olive Correctional Facility in West Virginia. He was sentenced in Hampshire County, W.Va., in 1988 on kidnapping, conspiracy and sexual assault charges, according to the records. Cloud is serving a life sentence for beating and chaining the woman, who worked with him at a manufacturing plant in Winchester.
Cloud was extradited to Virginia earlier this week. He is being held in a regional jail.