Former Fresno councilman 'frozen by fear' as friend attacked

Oliver Baines and Raymond Eddy had a decades-long friendship dating back to their time as Fresno police officers.

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Friday, November 4, 2022
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Former Fresno City Councilman Oliver Baines says he was frozen by fear when he thought his friend was going to kill him.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Former Fresno City Councilman Oliver Baines says he was frozen by fear and even lost consciousness briefly on the day he thought his longtime friend was going to kill him.

"I would characterize it as I was afraid that I was about to die and he had a gun to my throat," Baines said.

Raymond Eddy is on trial for assault with a firearm and most of the incident is caught on video

Bruises and scrapes framed Baines' face after his April 2021 run-in with Eddy.

Prosecutors say Eddy threatened even worse violence in text messages before the one-sided fight.

"I will kill you where you stand," prosecutor Leonel Salazar says Eddy texted.

Baines says he thought Eddy was struggling with his mental health, so he went to Eddy's northeast Fresno apartment to check on him despite the texted warning.

Over 90 seconds of video from a bystander shows most of what happened between the two men, but for Baines, what Eddy was saying was the most frightening part.

"He's talking about killing me, he puts the gun up to my throat, puts me up against the car and is saying unintelligible words, you know, he's God," Baines said.

Baines and Eddy had a decades-long friendship dating back to their time as Fresno police officers.

Eddy served as chief of staff when Baines was on the Fresno city council.

They later invested together in a Florida hemp factory.

Eddy's public defender says that was a fishy business and the beginning of the end of their friendship.

"Earlier that day in a telephone call, my client, Mr. Eddy accused Mr. Baines of committing fraud," said public defender Marco Aguiar.

Baines insists the confrontation had nothing to do with any business dealings.

He admits he didn't call the police afterwards.

He says officers came to his house shortly after he got home, but before that he was making calls to protect his family.

"Ray knows where I live so I was calling, I was calling my family," Baines said as he choked up. "I was calling my wife because she was with my daughter and my grandkids, so I wanted to make sure they weren't home."

Eddy faces up to four years in prison if he's convicted.

The trial should wrap up next week and Eddy hasn't declared whether he'll testify.