James “Jamie” Baldwin staged his wife’s death to look like an accident. She was found dead on the scene of a car crash, where Baldwin said she was ejected from the vehicle when he drove off the road after swerving to miss a car. However, blood was found in the house, where an investigation later determined she was beaten to death. Jamie Baldwin is serving a life sentence in prison. Read more about him here.
The murder of Judy Orr Baldwin and the attempted cover-up by her husband of four years is being discussed on Dateline NBC in an episode which airs at a special time. “The Black Box” is a one-hour special that airs on NBC at 10 p.m. EST. Baldwin is 60 years old.
Here’s what you need to know:
The Chester County Coroner Testified He Pushed for a Homicide Ruling in Judy Orr Baldwin’s Death
The Chester County Coroner knew Judy Orr Baldwin personally. He was instrumental in ensuring that justice was done in her case, according to testimony presented in Jamie Baldwin’s murder trial. When they were on the scene of the crash, Chester County Coroner Terry Tinker told jurors a detective steered him away from homicide, according to WBTV.
“Before we ever left that bridge, I was informed from [Chester County] Detective Chris Reynolds- ‘you know this is not a homicide,’” Chester County Coroner Terry Tinker told jurors from the stand.
An investigation concluded that Judy Orr Baldwin was beaten to death in her home, and then her murder was staged to look like a car accident. Jamie Baldwin, a longtime cop, drove his Jeep off a dark, rural road. He told officials he swerved to miss another car December 14, 2016 and hit an embankment, which caused his wife to be thrown from the vehicle. She was found dead on the scene.
An autopsy determined that Judy Baldwin’s injuries could not have been caused in an accident. Family members were quickly suspicious of the circumstances surrounding her death after blood was found on the mantle piece. Baldwin told investigators his wife fell when she was hanging up Christmas decorations.
Tinker decided to do two autopsies on Judy’s body after he saw the extent of her injuries. He later determined she died from massive bleeding, a 24-centimeter skull fracture and blunt force trauma.
“When I saw the massive amount of damage, I knew right then I was going to do another autopsy,” he testified, according to WBTV.
While Tinker determined Baldwin’s cause of death, the manner of death was left open as he awaited a meeting with investigators.
“There was an open on the ‘manner of death’ because we hadn’t gotten with the detectives,” said Tinker. He later added, “The sheriff of Chester County was not ever willing to help me at all. Never. Ever.”
Judy Baldwin had three injuries to her head, indicating she had been beaten to death. A broken stocking hanger was found on the floor of their home, according to testimony presented at trial.
“Injuries to the forehead could have been made by that instrument- there’s an area that’s triangular-shaped, and a part that’s zigged-zagged,” testified Dr. Ross, who did the second autopsy on Judy Baldwin’s body.
Because there were injuries on both sides of her head, the injuries were not consistent with an accident, she testified, according to WBTV.
Reynolds testified they did not initially investigate Judy Baldwin’s death as a criminal case. Although they visited the couple’s home and saw the blood, they didn’t take evidence or secure the crime scene, according to WBTV.
Tinker told the jury he pushed for further investigation. He had a circuit court judge call a meeting that eventually brought numerous agencies together. The State Law Enforcement Division then got involved, several months after Judy’s death.
“From that day forward we moved forward, without the help of the sheriff, we all moved forward, to be here where we’re at today,” said Tinker.
The Black Box in Jamie Baldwin’s Jeep Showed Evidence That Contradicted His Statements
A key piece of evidence in Judy Orr Baldwin’s murder investigation was the black box, or data recorder in Jamie Baldwin’s Jeep. He told investigators that on December 14, 2016, he was driving on the dark and rural road when he swerved to miss another vehicle and ran off the road, hitting an embankment, according to Dateline NBC. He said his wife was thrown from the vehicle. She was found dead on the scene.
An accident reconstruction specialist with the South Carolina Highway Patrol, Lance Cpl. Brian Trotter, testified a perfect tire print was photographed on the scene of the crime, according to WBTV.
“You get a perfect thumbprint-like impression if you’re driving on soft surface slowly,” he said. “That’s not at all consistent with running off the right side of the road at or near the speed limit of 50mph.”
He further testified the Jeep’s Event Data Recorder showed the driver was in control of the vehicle.
“Does the information of ‘no event’ image from the EDR (Event Data Recorder) or the DM and the other physical evidence you described to the jury tell you the Jeep driven by James Baldwin on this night was controlled?” Assistant Solicitor Jay Johnson asked.
“Absolutely,” Lance Corporal Trotter answered, according to WBTV.
Judy Baldwin talked to her sons daily. They lived nearby, according to CN2.
Judy Orr Baldwin’s Social Media Account Seemed to Show a Loving Relationship With Her Husband, Jamie Baldwin, in the Weeks Before Her Death
The image Judy Orr Baldwin portrayed on Facebook of her relationship with her husband, James “Jamie” Baldwin, was a loving one. She posted pictures of herself and Jamie Baldwin in the weeks leading up to her death.
James Baldwin also told investigators after her death that their marriage was going well, and they were not having any problems, according to CN2.
“It was about as perfect as it gets. We had a great relationship,” Baldwin said during a police interview played at his trial.
Allegations surfaced during the murder investigation of Judy Orr Baldwin that Jamie Baldwin was having an affair. Teri King was a member of the motorcycle club to which Judy and Jamie both belonged. King testified at Baldwin’s trial, and denied having a sexual relationship with Jamie. However, she said she moved in with Jamie Baldwin just 1 1/2 months after his wife’s death, according to CN2. Baldwin told investigators he was renting a room from her because he could not afford to keep their house.
Judy Baldwin’s son, Josh Orr, testified that his mom and Jamie seemed happy when they were first married in the spring of 2012. However, over time, it seemed as though their relationship had deteriorated, and that his mom seemed to be “walking on eggshells,” according to CN2.
Baldwin continued posting on Facebook after his wife’s death and before he was arrested in 2018. He shared photos of himself with his grandchildren and with motorcycles. Few of his public posts hinted that he was grieving the loss of his wife.
“Miss You and Love You Too,” he said, replying to a comment on September 4, 2017. “I’m hanging in there. It’s been a little rough.”
Just one week before her death, Judy posted a picture of herself with her husband on Facebook. He was wearing a leather vest emblazoned with a patch for Carolina Thunder Christian Motorcycle Club, a group to which they both belonged. He had his arm around her, and she leaned into him. He was wearing a Santa cap. They were both smiling and appeared to be squinting into the sunlight.
Two days earlier, she shared a photo reminiscing about their first Christmas together in 2011.
“Jamie Baldwin, Our first Christmas 2011, I love you more than you could ever imagine! Thanks for everything you do for us!” she wrote.
“I love you more,” he commented.
She replied, “I don’t think so!”