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Thread: William Baer (64), Melissa Schafer (50) arrested for the 1999 murder of Saad Kawaf,( 39)

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    Senior Member JohnLanders's Avatar
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    William Baer (64), Melissa Schafer (50) arrested for the 1999 murder of Saad Kawaf,( 39)

    https://www.news4jax.com/news/local/...investigation/

    A former Jacksonville Police officer has been charged for murder. Damn this is like Golden State Killer the Florida edition.

    JACKSONVILLE, Fla. ? After an investigation spanning more than two decades, Jacksonville police have announced the arrest of a retired Jacksonville detective and his then-wife in the murder of a business owner.

    Saad Kawaf was stabbed to death in his garage at his Deerwood home in 1999. Undersheriff Pat Ivey said two DNA profiles were developed in 2003. In May, through genetic testing, police were able to get two profiles.

    Based on those profiles, Ivey said, William Robert Baer Jr., 64, who is a retired JSO officer, was arrested in Jacksonville on Wednesday. Ivey said Melissa Schafer, 50, who was Baer?s then-wife, was arrested in Jefferson City, Missouri.

    Both have been charged with murder.

    ?It?s unbelievable. Really unbelievable,? said Dr. Mohammed Mona, Kawaf?s best friend. ?I literally jumped out my seat when I heard the news.?

    His brother, Dr. Omar Kawwaff, said he had mixed emotions when he learned of the arrests.

    ?It was some mixed feelings of happiness and relief and closure, but the sadness never goes away,? he said.

    In May 1999, Kawaf was getting ready to leave his home in the gated community of Deerwood on the city?s Southside. Kawaf, 39, owned Forest Discount Store and was about to make a cash deposit at the bank.

    Instead, he and his wife were ambushed. Kawaf was stabbed to death and robbed. His wife -- scuffled with the other woman. Kawaf?s wife was taken inside and tied up. Baer and Schafer made off with about $30,000, officials said.

    Baer was with the Sheriff?s Office for 27 years, joining in 1975 and retiring in 2002. At the time of the murder, Baer was actively investigating Kawaf for an unspecified crime, according to police.

    Baer had been an intelligence division detective at the time of the attack, and Ivey said Baer met the victim, a convenience store owner, through work.

    News4Jax crime and safety expert Ken Jefferson said he worked with Baer during his time at the Sheriff?s Office.

    ?What?s most disturbing is that he allegedly committed this murder and robbery, came back to work and put that uniform and badge back on,? Jefferson said.

    A statement from the State Attorney?s Office reads:

    ?Despite more than 20 years passing, this arrest shows the importance of cold case work in law enforcement and the value of genetic genealogy. The case will be prosecuted by State Attorney Melissa Nelson and Chief Assistant L.E. Hutton.?

    Baer was being held without bond. Jail records didn?t list an attorney. Schafer hadn?t been returned to Jacksonville jail by Thursday evening.

    Late Thursday night, News4Jax obtained Schafer?s mug shot.








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    Senior Member JohnLanders's Avatar
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    https://www.firstcoastnews.com/artic...ef=exit-recirc

    Also this case will lead to having all of William Baer investigation work re-examined to see if former officer Baer framed somebody else within the past two decades as a ploy to cover up the murder.
    This includes allegations of Police Corruption during the time Baer was a Jacksonville Police detective.


    JACKSONVILLE, Fla — While the arrest of a retired JSO homicide detective may be helping solve a Jacksonville cold case, it's bringing cases he's investigated into question.

    The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office announced the arrest of former detective William Baer, who is one of the suspect's in the brutal 1999 murder of Saad Kawaf. DNA evidence led to an arrest, JSO said.

    Kawaf was beaten and stabbed outside of his Deerwood home on May 17, 1999. His wife was tied up during the incident, but she bit her attacker, who was identified as Baer's ex-wife, Melissa Jo Schafer, police said.

    Schafer was also arrested and is also facing murder charges.

    Attorney Joe Hamrick, who focuses on post-conviction and appellate work and used to work within the State Attorney's Office, says he expects many people to file a post-conviction appeal because of this new evidence against Baer.

    Typically, someone convicted of a crime would have at least two years to appeal. But if new evidence, like a detective being arrested and charged with murder surfaces, that window opens back up no matter how much time has passed.

    “I think there will likely be many compelling post-conviction motions brought, Det. Baer had a long career and was involved in many important investigations,” Hamrick said.

    Our news partners at The Florida Times-Union report Baer testified to a grand jury investigating police corruption in 2003.

    Hamrick says Baer’s arrest could be considered exculpatory evidence which may strengthen a defendant’s claim of innocence or weaken the prosecution of a case.

    “The analysis would be, had [a defendant] known that this critical witness against them had allegedly committed a homicide, they could use that to try and impeach him, would they have taken a plea or went to trial?” Hamrick adds.

    Baer started working with JSO in 1979 and retired in 2002.

    Hamrick says he is reviewing his clients’ cases to see if Baer was involved in any way.

    “If Detective Baer was the lead detective or critical witness, or the only person who claims to have critical evidence, if he was lying, we’d have a risk that an innocent person is serving a lengthy prison sentence,” Hamrick said.
    Law enforcement sources tell First Coast News that Baer was watching the Kawaf’s home as part of an investigation.

    Baer is held in jail without bond. He faces murder and armed robbery charges.

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    Senior Member JohnLanders's Avatar
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    https://www.kcrg.com/2020/07/03/form...d-case-murder/

    Here is more in the background of Melissa Schafer

    CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - A former Cedar Rapids Jefferson softball star was arrested and charged, along with a retired homicide detective, with murder in connection with a 1999 killing of a Jacksonville Florida man.

    Melissa Schafer, 50, was arrested in Jefferson City, Missouri Thursday. Her ex-husband, William Baer, who is a former homicide detective in Jacksonville was arrested the same day in Florida. Investigators say DNA evidence linked the two to the murder of Saad Kawaf, who owned a local convenience store.

    Kawaf was stabbed and killed when a man and woman attacked him in his driveway and then tied up his wife in their home, stealing about $30,000 Kawaf was taking to deposit in the bank. Police now say Baer and Shafer were those attackers.

    Police say Baer met Kawaf through his police duties and was investigating him when the murder happened but are not sure if that played a role in the murder. Baer retired from Jacksonville police in 2002.

    Schafer played softball at Jefferson from 1984-1987, making first-team all-state all four years, before playing two seasons in college at UNI under a full scholarship. Shafer was inducted into the Iowa Girls’ High School Softball Hall of Fame in 2014.

    Melissa Shafer seen in a team photo while playing at UNI. Shafer played two seasons with the Panthers softball from 1987-1989.

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    Senior Member JohnLanders's Avatar
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    https://www.firstcoastnews.com/artic...0-d42e19dc1f53

    A possible motive has been released on Saad Kawaf. The motives on Baer was to go after Kawaf on the pseudoephedrine dealing allegations as the lead in to the attacks in 1999.


    JACKSONVILLE, Fla — Police announced the arrest of a former Jacksonville Sheriff's Office Homicide Detective in a two-decade cold case -- the murder of Saad Kawaf.

    Retired Jacksonville Sheriff’s Officer William Baer and his ex wife, Melissa Jo Schafer, now face murder charges in the killing of the convenience store owner in 1999.


    It is a case First Coast News featured in its “Unsolved” series in February 2020. On May 17, 1999, Saad Kawaf said goodbye to his wife before walking out the door to head to work. Law enforcement sources say Det. Baer and Schaffer were waiting outside and attacked Kawaf in his driveway.

    Saad Kawaf’s wife later told officers she heard a scream and when she opened the door she saw her husband being dragged into the garage while being beaten and stabbed. Mrs. Kawaf says she was then grabbed by a female attacker and dragged back into the home and bound. During the course of her struggle with the female attacker, Mrs. Kawaf bit the woman – a fact that, 20 years later, would provide the key to identifying the attackers. She got a piece of the female attacker’s DNA.

    Detectives say the use of genetic genealogy helped lead them to Schaffer and to Baer himself. Sources tell First Coast News back in 1999, Baer had been watching Kawaf's house as part of JSO's intelligence unit because there was suspicion that Saad Kawaf was illegally selling pseudoephedrine at his store and that there was a large amount of money inside the home.

    It is unclear if Baer was interviewed during the course of the initial investigation into Kawaf’s murder.

    During First Coast News' interview with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office about this case earlier this year, Det. Margo Rhatigan stated that money was taken from inside the home and that was believed to be a possible motive in Kawaf’s killing, but declined to say how much was stolen.

    Heather Kayal, Kawaf's niece, released the following statement on behalf of the family.

    "We are thrilled. We are grateful. Not a day has gone by that we don’t miss our beloved Saad. The past 21 years have been the hardest to not only be without a man who meant so much to our family, but to know that the people who did this were not held accountable for their actions. We are grateful to the brave members of the cold case unit and all members of law enforcement who have worked tirelessly on our behalf to ensure justice and that Saad’s memory will never be forgotten."


    The State Attorney's Office released the following statement about the arrest:

    "Despite more than 20 years passing, this arrest shows the importance of cold case work in law enforcement and the value of genetic genealogy. The case will be prosecuted by State Attorney Melissa Nelson and Chief Assistant L.E. Hutton."

    You can watch the full news conference from JSO below.

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    Senior Member JohnLanders's Avatar
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    https://www.jacksonville.com/news/20...cksonville-cop

    Here is more on the Saad Kawaf Homicide.


    An arrest warrant for a retired Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office detective and his former softball star wife detail what led up to the 1999 homicide of Saad Kawaf.

    Saad Kawaf’s wife heard screaming in the garage of their Deerwood home about 9:20 a.m. on May 17, 1999, and ran to see what was happening.

    What the 39-year-old victim’s wife saw when she got to the garage door was horrifying.

    “She observed a white female in the garage and saw her husband in a violent struggle with a white male,” according to a just-released murder warrant for a 64-year-old former Jacksonville police officer and his ex-wife. “She saw her husband being stabbed by the white male.”

    Investigators did not know it at the time, but the male suspect was a detective with the Sheriff’s Office now identified as William Robert Baer Jr., 64. He did not retire from the force until 2002, police said. The woman was his then-wife Melissa Jo Schafer, now 50, police said.

    Baer was arrested July 1 on charges of murder and armed robbery, police said. Schafer was taken into custody the next day in Jefferson City, Mo., where she lived. She remains there in jail until she can be extradited.

    In announcing the arrests, Jacksonville Undersheriff Pat Ivey said Baer’s “specific assignment” with the Sheriff’s Office in 1999 “led him to have contact” with Kawaf.

    “He was a detective that was looking at a crime involving potentially the victim,” Ivey said last week.

    The arrest warrant indicates the man and woman that Kawaf’s wife saw in the garage knew a lot about them, specifically that the victim owned a convenience store and regularly kept money from it in the house. Times-Union news partner First Coast News reported that Baer had been watching the couple’s home as part of a drug investigation.


    As Kawaf’s wife ran to help him that spring day in 1999, the female suspect grabbed her and they fought. The victim’s wife worked hard to get free and “severely bit the female suspect on the arm, causing her to bleed,” the warrant said.

    “I know you have money,” the female suspect said in the document. “We’ll shoot him if you don’t give us the money.”

    Kawaf’s wife handed over about $500 from her purse, but the female suspect said she knew the husband “went to the bank each week, knew that he had not gone that morning and knew they still had the money,” the warrant said.

    The man who had stabbed her husband then held the blade to Kawaf’s wife’s throat as he also demanded money, the warrant said. The wife took them to a kitchen cabinet where another $30,000 was taken before her hands were duct taped together, then she was secured to a chair with more tape over her mouth, the warrant said.

    After the man and woman fled, Kawaf’s wife freed herself and found her husband barely conscious from multiple stab wounds, the warrant said. He died later at a hospital.

    Blood on a shirt worn by one of the suspects as well as blood drops on a kitchen counter were collected as evidence, along with fingernail clippings from Kawaf. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement tested it all, but no DNA profile was initially found, the report said.

    Blood samples were sent to a laboratory in March 2003 to test again, and results three months later found profiles for a woman and two men, one apparently Kawaf, although all names were blacked out on the warrant. More evidence was tested in 2014, determining what had been found under Kawaf’s fingernails matched the blood on the shirt.


    The DNA profiles of the suspects were entered into the nationwide Combined DNA Index System, but nothing matched. But when detective M.M. Ratigan revived the Sheriff’s Office cold case in March 2018, she began hunting for new ways to identify the DNA, the warrant said.

    Both were submitted by the FDLE to Parabon NanoLabs for genetic geneology analysis, and the male’s samples also were sent to Family Tree DNA. On June 5 the FDLE confirmed Baer was the male DNA, while Schafer was confirmed as the other six days later, the warrant said.

    The final DNA match came after investigators collected water bottles and soda cans from Baer’s garbage, all tested by the FDLE. The male DNA taken from a can in the trash matched the male suspect’s profile as found under Kawaf’s left fingernail, the warrant said.

    Arrest warrants were issued, with Baer picked up at his Southside home, police said. He had operated William R. Baer Investigations on Cesery Boulevard after his retirement, according to some business listings, but the number is now disconnected. As for Schafer, she was inducted into the 2014 Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union’s Softball Hall of Fame, according to its records.

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    Cranjis McBasketball Nic B's Avatar
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    He doesn't even compare to the Golden State Killer. This guy murdered one person whereas the Golden State Killer raped and murdered MULTIPLE people.


    Quote Originally Posted by marakisses View Post
    yes i said i will leave it under you storage he said cuddle with me i said shut up it over??? what am i doing wrong??

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    Senior Member JohnLanders's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nic B View Post
    He doesn't even compare to the Golden State Killer. This guy murdered one person whereas the Golden State Killer raped and murdered MULTIPLE people.
    my initial reaction to this but its more clear now that William Baer was a corrupt Jacksonville Police officer as more details was released on him.

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    https://www.firstcoastnews.com/artic...f-f54c63bac19a

    First Coast News is getting a deeper look at the investigation that solved a two-decade-old cold case through new court documents.

    Last week, police announced the arrest of a former Jacksonville Sheriff's Office Homicide Detective in a two-decade cold case -- the murder of Saad Kawaf.

    Retired Jacksonville Sheriff’s Officer William Baer and his ex-wife, Melissa Jo Schafer, now face murder charges in the killing of the convenience store owner in 1999.

    At the time of the crime, Baer was a detective with JSO.

    According to a recently released arrest warrant, on the morning of May 17, Kawaf’s wife heard a commotion in her garage.

    When she opened the door she saw her husband being stabbed multiple times and when she tried to help him, she was grabbed by a female suspect who she bit on the arm, according to the warrant.

    The female attacker reportedly told Kawaf's wife: “Give us all your money, we know you have money. I know you have money; we’ll shoot him if you don’t give us the money.”

    The document also says the male attacker grabbed Kawaf's wife, put a knife to her throat, and said: “Give me the money, I know you’ve got money.”

    She told them where they could find $30,000 hidden in a kitchen cabinet, the warrant states. She was then duct-taped to a chair while the suspects fled.

    Her husband later died from the brutal stabbing.

    According to the arrest warrant, blood droplets and nail clippings were taken from the scene and sent to the FDLE in 1999.

    Though the case was revisited for forensic analysis in 2003 and 2014, it appears the biggest break came in March of 2018 when the genetic genealogy process began.

    It would take nearly two years but the warrant says in June of this year a male subject, William Baer Jr. was identified through the genetic profile.

    Days later, the female profile came back for Melissa Jo Schafer, who was determined to be William Baer’s wife back in 1999 and fit the description of the female attacker.

    On June 15th, detectives collected trash from Baer’s Jacksonville home for DNA and three days later got confirmation from the lab that the DNA on Baer’s trash and the DNA from the crime in 1999 was a match.

    The State Attorney's Office released the following statement about the arrest:

    "Despite more than 20 years passing, this arrest shows the importance of cold case work in law enforcement and the value of genetic genealogy. The case will be prosecuted by State Attorney Melissa Nelson and Chief Assistant L.E. Hutton."

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    Senior Member KimTisha's Avatar
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    I love these genetic cold case solves!

    You are talking to a woman who has laughed in the face of death, sneered at doom and chuckled at catastrophe.
    ...Collector of Chairs. Reader of Books. Hater of Nutmeg...

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    Senior Member JohnLanders's Avatar
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    https://www.news4jax.com/news/local/...-1999-killing/

    JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The State Attorney’s Office on Wednesday filed additional charges against William Baer, a retired Jacksonville detective who was arrested earlier this month in the 1999 stabbing death of business owner Saad Kawaf.

    Baer, 64, is now charged with second-degree murder, armed robbery, armed burglary, armed kidnapping and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

    DNA evidence recovered at Kawaf’s home in Deerwood led to Baer’s arrest, as well as the arrest of Melissa Schafer, Baer’s ex-wife.

    Lawyers for Baer have asked a judge to set a bond for their client, contending his life is in danger at the Duval County jail due to COVID-19. Baer’s attorneys filed a bond motion in which they listed a variety of long-term health issues. The motion states that Baer had a lengthy battle with cancer in the 90s that spread to his heart and lungs and left him with an irregular heartbeat. Attorneys said he also suffers from kidney disease, high blood pressure and asthma.

    Lawyers contend Baer’s incarceration at the jail -- where there have been more than 400 reported cases of COVID-19 -- presents a significant risk of death. Lawyers cited Baer’s 27-years of service to JSO and his longstanding membership at North Baptist Church in the bond motion, and assured the judge he is not a flight risk.

    Baer is being held without bond pending his arraignment, which was pushed back to July 29.

    As of Wednesday, there was no ruling yet on the bond motion.

    Schafer, 50, remained in jail in Missouri as of Tuesday.

    Baer joined JSO in 1975 and retired in 2002. At the time of the Kawaf’s death, Baer was actively investigating Kawaf for an unspecified crime, according to police.
    https://www.news4jax.com/news/local/...-is-in-danger/

    JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Attorneys for William Baer, a retired Jacksonville detective accused of murder, have asked a judge to set a bond for their client, contending his life is in danger at the Duval County jail due to COVID-19.

    Baer is charged with murder and armed robbery in the 1999 stabbing death of Saad Kawaf. DNA evidence recovered at Kawaf’s home in Deerwood led to his arrest as well as the arrest of Melissa Schafer, 50, his ex-wife

    Lawyers for Baer, now 64, filed a bond motion in which they listed a variety of long-term health issues. The motion states that Baer had a lengthy battle with cancer in the 90s that spread to his heart and lungs and left him with an irregular heartbeat. Attorneys said he also suffers from kidney disease, high blood pressure and asthma.

    Lawyers contend Baer’s incarceration at the jail -- where there have been more than 400 reported cases of COVID-19 -- presents a significant risk of death. Lawyers cited Baer’s 27-years of service to JSO and his longstanding membership at North Baptist Church in the bond motion, and assured the judge he is not a flight risk.

    Baer is held without bond pending an arraignment. As of Tuesday, Schafer remained in jail in Missouri.

    Baer was with the Sheriff’s Office for 27 years, joining in 1975 and retiring in 2002. At the time of the murder, Baer was actively investigating Kawaf for an unspecified crime, according to police.

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