Naked sex-attack suspect zapped in buttock

jkovac@macon.comJune 12, 2014 

Hank Lanier Baker

The nude man had been on the loose for more than a week.

When a cop in east Macon caught a glimpse of him in the wee hours of Thursday morning, he wasn’t too hard to spot.

The guy was strolling down a sidewalk with no clothes on.

The man, suspected of trying to rape a Shirley Hills woman in her backyard June 4, took off when he saw Bibb County sheriff’s deputy Dallas Malone bearing down.

Malone ran after him, but the man disappeared outside a building near the corner of Nottingham Drive and Gray Highway, not far from Interstate 16.

“I shined my flashlight behind the building and he jumped up from behind a trash can and began running,” Malone noted in a report.

Malone, it turned out, had handled the original June 4 assault call in Shirley Hills.

Now in pursuit of the disrobed man at 12:40 a.m. Thursday, the deputy hollered for him to stop.

But the naked man dashed away, high-tailing through North Avenue backyards.

“I yelled that if he did not lay down I was going to tase him,” Malone’s write-up said, but the guy didn’t slow down. “I was about 5 feet behind him when I deployed my Taser.”

It was a direct hit, square in the man’s back and left buttock. He went down face first in a pile of leaves.

Hank Lanier Baker, 48, was charged with criminal attempt to commit rape and aggravated assault in connection with the June 4 attack on a Jackson Springs Road woman.

In that incident, a mile or so from where Baker was nabbed, the victim had stepped outside for a midnight smoke.

She saw an unclothed man and, startled, asked him what he was doing. “Looking for sex,” he said.

Then he tackled and choked her, tugging at her pants, an incident report said. The woman kicked and screamed. The attacker ran away.

In the struggle, the woman tried to press a panic button on her car key. After the man left, she realized she’d snagged a clump of his hair in her keys.

It was dark and she didn’t get a good look at the man, but she described him as tall with long hair.

The 6-foot-4, 165-pound Baker, who has ties to Barrow and Cherokee counties in north Georgia, was apparently homeless and roaming Macon for days.

He was reportedly spotted a few times earlier this month standing along eastside thoroughfares in his birthday suit.

About 10 a.m. Wednesday, someone complained of seeing a naked man at the corner of Boulevard and Laurel Avenue.

On June 7, a deputy was dispatched to nearby North Avenue and Gray Highway to look for an unclad man running in the road.

It wasn’t clear what might have prompted Baker to strip down, or where he’d shed his attire.

“We weren’t able to find his clothes,” investigator Daniel Shurley said. “I’m not sure what his deal is.”

Shurley tried to talk to Baker soon after he was caught but got little out of him.

Even so, the investigator said, he was glad to get Baker off the street.

“He’s a predator,” Shurley said. “He’s caused quite a stir.”

Baker has been in and out of state prison at least five times. His crimes, which date to the 1980s, include multiple burglaries, meth possession, obstruction and probation violations.

In his most recent prison stretch, he served two and a half years of a seven-year burglary sentence before being freed in 2010.

Baker spent about four years behind bars in the middle 1990s after being caught breaking into a Cherokee County convenience store and stealing some 500 lottery tickets.

To contact writer Joe Kovac Jr., call 744-4397.

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