HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — 43-year-old Kay Baker was killed in May after investigators said her boyfriend Matthew Terry stabbed her multiple times and found her body outside of a neighbor's home in Lithia.
Baker was an elementary school teacher and mother of two, and her loved ones said she was a kind and compassionate person.
“She had a heart like no other. She loved her boys and she also loved her students," Brandi Haggstrom, a friend and former neighbor of Baker, said.
Haggstrom said Baker was always helping those around her.
“She was the type of person who would literally take her last dollar and give it to you if you needed it," she said.
Haggstrom said she wants Baker to be remembered for the incredible person she was.
“She lit up a room and she was always there to make you smile," Haggstrom said.
On Monday, recently appointed Hillsborough State Attorney Susan Lopez announced she will be seeking the death penalty for Terry.
“Every capital murder case must be evaluated on its own facts to determine if a reasonable jury made up of Hillsborough County citizens could unanimously sentence a defendant to death," Lopez said in a statement. "It is the most serious penalty available under Florida law, and I approach this responsibility with humility and a sense of duty to the rule of law. Defendant Mathew Terry’s actions were especially heinous, cruel, and atrocious. He was merciless in his brutal killing of Ms. Baker, and given his history of violent behavior, we will ask a jury to sentence him to death. “
Suspended State Attorney Andrew Warren said he spoke with the family prior to Lopez's announcement and said that the Baker family wanted to see Terry spend the rest of his life behind bars.
“My heart goes out to Kay and her family. My decision to seek life in prison was based in large part on my conversations with Kay's parents, who wanted to see the defendant locked up for the rest of his life as quickly as possible, without the extensive delays and appeals that come with seeking the death penalty," he said in a statement. "It's a shame the governor's political stunt may delay the justice they deserve, especially if they weren't consulted before the decision was changed.”