Daytona Beach man who wore clown mask during 2021 murder pleads guilty

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — A man who was accused of donning a clown mask before robbing and killing another man in Daytona Beach will spend decades in prison after choosing to avoid going to trial.


Just before jury selection was set to begin in his murder trial Monday morning, now 26-year-old Keylan Baker pleaded guilty to charges of second-degree murder and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon for the Nov. 8, 2021 shooting death of 29-year-old Francisco Soto.

Multiple witnesses to the shooting told the responding Daytona Beach police officers they were with Soto in the parking lot at 845 Orange Ave. just before the murder, working on their car.

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That’s when a man, later identified as Baker, walked up to them wearing a clown mask with green hair attached and motioned for them to be quiet by placing a finger over the mouth of the mask.

One of the witnesses said they thought Baker was about to play a “prank” on Soto in an attempt to scare him.

Instead, the witness said Baker raised a black gun and fired a single shot into Soto’s head.

Baker then walked to the passenger side of the car and pointed the gun at one of the witnesses, who then begged Baker not to shoot.

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The witnesses said Baker then lowered the gun and walked away from the area, at which point they attempted to render some aid to Soto and called for help.

Daytona Beach investigators reviewed surveillance video from businesses in the area that showed Baker and an accomplice, later identified as Noble Geathers IV, walking through the area several times throughout the night.

Police also found surveillance video that showed the murder taking place.

Although they both wore masks during the shooting, additional video captured Baker and Geathers in the area wearing the same clothing they wore around the time of the murder.

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Baker entered a plea of guilty Monday to second-degree murder with a firearm and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Judge Dawn Nichols then sentenced him to 45 years in prison.

The state declined to move forward with a murder charge against Geathers in exchange for his cooperation in the case against Baker. Geathers was subsequently adjudicated guilty Monday on a charge of robbery with a mask and sentenced to time already served of more than 800 days and 10 years of probation.

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