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Lives shattered by fatal shooting

The mother of two young children is dead and the father is charged with shooting her at her residence in the 800 block of Urbanna Road between Cooks Corner and Urbanna.

The mother, Wendy Billups, 33, of Saluda, was shot twice in the head by the children’s father, Travis Al Baker, 34, of Water View on Sunday about 5 p.m., reported Major M.E. Sampson of the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office.

Following the shooting, Baker showed up at the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office in Saluda “crying and distraught,” according to county deputies, said Major Sampson.

Baker told deputies he went to see his children on his son’s birthday, and when he got to Billups’ residence, she told him to leave. Baker then stated to detectives that he “snapped and shot her in the head.”

Deputies responded to the residence and upon arrival discovered a female with two apparent gunshot wounds to the head, according to Major Sampson. Medical personnel were escorted into the house after deputies cleared the residence.

A search warrant was executed on the residence. A Virginia State Police forensic team was called by the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office to assist in processing the scene and in the collection of evidence.

The body of Billups was transported to the State Medical Examiner’s Office in Richmond.

Baker has been charged with first-degree murder and using or displaying in a threatening manner a firearm while committing or attempting to commit murder, said Major Sampson.

Sampson said the case is still under investigation and he could not comment about whether the two children were in the house at the time of the shooting. The children are under the age of 7.

Baker was arraigned on September 11 in Middlesex Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court.

In the courtroom, members of the audience stared at the door through which Baker would enter after his name was called by Judge Cessondra B. Conyers.

Wearing an orange jump suit, his legs shackled with a short chain, Baker spoke quietly as the judge asked him financial questions to determine if he qualified for a court-appointed attorney. Baker said he had been working before the alleged crime but had no cash saved and did not own real estate. He also said he had been supporting his two children.

Judge Conyers appointed attorney Brian Decker of Gloucester to represent Baker.

Baker’s preliminary hearing is set for November 13 at 10:30 a.m. 

As Baker passed through the exit door, he paused briefly to look back over his shoulder at the audience.

posted 09.11.2013

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