A 28-year-old Tucson man who was facing a potential death sentence pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and kidnapping Thursday and is facing between 29 and 32 1/2 years in prison.
Jonathan Baumbach admitted he convinced Robert Pardee, 61, he was going to give him a present, blindfolded him and then hit him in the head with a hammer and slit his throat.
Pardee’s body was found 11 days after Pardee was slain when Pardee’s daughter asked Tucson police to check on him because she hadn’t heard from him in awhile.
Baumbach was found in Washington state while sleeping in the back of Pardee’s stolen truck June 27, 2011.
Baumbach was indicted Aug. 1, 2011, on first-degree murder and kidnapping charges. He was also accused of stealing Pardee’s truck, paintings, credit cards and other personal belongings.
Had Baumbach been convicted at trial, prosecutors would have sought the death penalty for him because the slaying was committed for pecuniary gain and in an especially cruel, heinous or depraved manner. They also alleged it was committed “in a cold, calculated manner without pretense of moral or legal justification.”
Pima County Superior Court Judge Richard Fields will sentence Baumbach Feb. 11.
Shortly after Pardee’s death, his daughter, Avery, told the Star the victim was a loving father, an avid reader, a retired landscape architect for Pima County and a University of Arizona graduate. Pardee took part in designing Agua Caliente Park and in the creation of Feliz Paseos Park, distinctive for its paved trail to afford access to the disabled.
Contact reporter Kim Smith at 573-4241 or email@example.com