Ex-sol­dier gets 50-year term for mom’s murder

Austin American-Statesman - - FRONT PAGE - By Lind­sey Bomnin

A for­mer sol­dier ac­cused of shoot­ing his mother in the head as she slept pleaded guilty and was sen­tenced to 50 years in prison Fri­day morn­ing.

Travis Baczewski, 23, was charged with cap­i­tal murder and fam­ily vi­o­lence in the death of Vi­o­letta Baczewski on July 26, 2009.

He could have re­ceived up to life in prison.

Un­der the plea agree­ment, Baczewski must serve 25 years be­fore be­ing con­sid­ered for pa­role. Pros­e­cu­tor Mon­ica Flores said it was a fair sen- tence to sug­gest af­ter speak­ing with fam­ily mem­bers.

Po­lice said Baczewski shot his mother once in the head while she slept at her home on Old Man­chaca Road in south­ern Travis County, ac­cord­ing to an ar­rest af­fi­davit.

He then stole his par­ents’ 42-inch plasma tele­vi­sion, sev­eral pieces of women’s jew­elry, guns, and debit and credit cards be­fore flee­ing to the Rio Grande Val­ley in his fa­ther’s In­finiti, ac­cord­ing to po­lice.

Baczewski’s fa­ther, Steven, was in Iraq work­ing for a pri­vate com­pany

Con­tin­ued from A and hadn’t been able to reach his wife that day by phone.

Deputies found Vi­o­letta Baczewski in her home af­ter her sis­ter called po­lice when no one an­swered the door.

Po­lice tracked down Travis Baczewski through a credit card pur­chase at a gas sta­tion, found him the next evening at a ho­tel in Alamo and ar­rested him, ac­cord­ing to the ar­rest af­fi­davit.

A search war­rant for Vi­o­letta Baczewski’s home and the fam­ily’s two cars that of­fi­cials re­leased Wed­nes­day said a let­ter from the Army was found stat­ing that Travis Baczewski had gone AWOL be­cause he’d failed three drug tests.

De­fense at­tor­ney Rhett Bran­iff said the best thing about the plea agree­ment is that it will give Baczewski the op­por­tu­nity to be granted pa­role and give him a sec­ond chance, as his fa- was killed July 26, 2009. ther wants for him.

Fam­ily mem­bers were present at the courthouse and spoke in court to Baczewski af­ter the plea agree­ment was ap­proved by Judge Mike Lynch. Travis Baczewski’s stoic ex­pres­sion re­mained un­changed through­out the pro­ceed­ing.

A fam­ily friend, Baczewski’s first cousin and his aunt, who did not want to give their names, spoke on be­half of Vi­o­letta Baczewski, mak­ing it clear through teary, an­gry state­ments that they were present in honor of his mother’s me­mory and not for him.

The three women expressed their grief and hoped that he would be haunted by his mother’s me­mory for the rest of his life.

Baczewski’s fa­ther spoke last, chok­ing up be­fore he was able to be­gin speak­ing. He told his son to ap­pre­ci­ate the op­por­tu­nity he had been given through his sen­tence to pos­si­bly get out of prison and start over.

“I hate what you did, but you’re still my son,” Steven Baczewski said. “A lot of peo­ple don’t un­der­stand, but I still love you be­cause you are my son.”

Travis Baczewski must serve at least 25 years.

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