Psycho For Love: Vincent Bauer killed his estranged wife, Susan Bauer; Sentenced to life in prison

From Bauer’s appeal: In the early morning hours of March 20, 1996, 5-year-old Jonathan Bauer knocked on the back door of his neighbors’ house in Saint Paul. After being let into the house, Jonathan told his neighbor that something was wrong with his mother, Susan Bauer.   The neighbor’s husband went next door to investigate.

The front door to Ms. Bauer’s house was open and a set of keys was in the outside lock.   Upon entering the house, the neighbor found appellant, Ms. Bauer’s estranged husband, standing in the doorway between the living room and kitchen with appellant’s and Ms. Bauer’s other two children.   He then saw Ms. Bauer, obviously injured or dead, lying on a sofa bed in the living room.   The neighbor called 911 from the phone in Ms. Bauer’s kitchen.   The paramedics arrived at Ms. Bauer’s house shortly thereafter.   After briefly examining Ms. Bauer, they concluded that she was already dead.

Saint Paul police and Dr. Michael McGee, an Assistant Ramsey County Medical Examiner, were called to the scene.   They found Ms. Bauer on the sofa bed in the living room.   A telephone cord and a metal coat hanger had been wrapped tightly around her neck.   In addition to the injuries caused by these ligatures, investigators observed multiple soft tissue injuries on Ms. Bauer’s face, neck, chest, and hands, and an L-shaped abrasion on her left calf.   After conducting an autopsy, Dr. McGee determined that the cause of Ms. Bauer’s death was “[a]sphyxia due to ligature strangulation” and that Ms. Bauer was most likely killed between 10:00 p.m. on March 19 and 12:00 midnight on March 20, 1996.

Appellant did not testify at trial, but in several interviews with police gave his version of the events surrounding Ms. Bauer’s killing.   Appellant and Ms. Bauer began dating in 1984, were married in 1988, and separated in early 1996.   They had three children.   In January 1996, Ms. Bauer filed for and was granted an order for protection prohibiting appellant from having contact with her.   Despite this order, Ms. Bauer willingly continued to have contact with appellant and permitted him to have contact with the children.

Appellant said that he was at Ms. Bauer’s house on the afternoon of March 19, 1996 but left at approximately 2:30 p.m. He said that from there, he went to a dentist’s office in Newport where Ms. Bauer had a dentist appointment.   Appellant stated that from the dentist’s office, he went to a shopping mall in West Saint Paul where he purchased clothes for his children and then went to a bar in North Saint Paul where he played pool until late in the night.   After leaving the bar, he went to the trailer home of a friend in Oakdale, where he was residing.   One of the other tenants of the trailer confirmed that appellant returned there at approximately 12:15 a.m. on March 20.

Appellant said that he went to Ms. Bauer’s house on the morning of March 20 to drop off the clothes he had purchased for his children.   According to appellant, when he arrived at Ms. Bauer’s house he saw the front door open.   Appellant said that he then entered the house and saw Ms. Bauer lying on the sofa bed.   He touched Ms. Bauer’s face to see if she was all right, but found that she was already dead.   Appellant said that he then sent one of his children to the neighbor’s house for help while he got the other children dressed.

When asked if he knew who had killed his wife, appellant told the police that he suspected Quang Tran, the boyfriend of Rebecca Haas, a friend of Ms. Bauer’s.   Appellant suggested that Tran was upset with Ms. Bauer for interfering in Tran’s and Haas’ relationship.

At appellant’s trial, the jury heard of several instances of Tran’s past violent behavior.   Both the defense and the state placed particular emphasis on the events of March 17, 1996, two to three days before Ms. Bauer’s killing.   On that date, Tran called Ms. Bauer’s house several times looking for Haas. When Ms. Bauer informed him that Haas was not there, Tran became angry and threatened to kill both Haas and Ms. Bauer.   Ms. Bauer then called the police, who arrived and took a statement from Ms. Bauer.   Sometime after the phone calls, Haas and her children arrived at Ms. Bauer’s house for dinner.   After dinner, as Haas was preparing to leave, Tran arrived at Ms. Bauer’s house and began smashing the windows of Haas’ car with a hammer.   Ms. Bauer called the police, but Tran fled before they arrived.   Haas gave the police Tran’s address, but Tran was not at home when officers went there to investigate.

According to police records, at 11:45 p.m. that same evening, Ms. Bauer called 911 and reported having just heard a window break in the front of her house.   Police records indicate that an officer was dispatched to Ms. Bauer’s house at 11:53 p.m. and arrived at 11:56 p.m. The officer discovered that a piece of brick with a note attached had been thrown through Ms. Bauer’s window.   The unsigned note read:

My Family not you bisness.   You F**k with me to much time.   My kid say you no have husband no mor So you lonely me and my Friend come F**k you OK? He have long hair you like him. you stay away bich or I F**k you OK. I not joking.

Ms. Bauer said that she suspected Tran had written the note.   The officer attempted to locate Tran at Haas’ house, but Tran was not there.

On the morning of March 20, after discovering Ms. Bauer’s body, the police located Tran and interviewed him in connection with the March 17 brick throwing incident and Ms. Bauer’s killing.   Tran told the officers that he was at work from approximately 11:00 p.m. on March 17 to approximately 7:00 a.m. on March 18.   Tran’s employer verified that computer records from March 17 indicated that Tran’s electronic access card had been used at Tran’s place of employment multiple times during that time period.   As for the evening of Ms. Bauer’s killing, March 19, Tran told the police that he was at home watching videos.

Tran was arrested but was released shortly thereafter because of a lack of evidence.   Prior to releasing Tran, the police obtained a blood sample, searched his residence, and seized his jacket, which appeared to have a small amount of blood on the sleeve.

From Ms. Bauer’s house, the police seized several pieces of evidence including the sheets from the sofa bed, a piece of cardboard that had been lying on or near the sofa bed, and samples of what appeared to be blood from the wall and floor of a bedroom adjoining the room where Ms. Bauer’s body was found.   The police also took samples of what appeared to be blood from several locations on Ms. Bauer’s body.

With appellant’s consent, the police searched his residence and obtained blood, hair, and saliva samples from him.   In appellant’s residence, the police found and seized a pair of men’s underwear with what appeared to be blood on it.   In the course of their investigation the police also seized three leg braces-two for the right leg and one for the left leg-that belonged to appellant.   Appellant had polio as a child and needed the braces to walk.

Tests conducted by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) showed the presence of blood on the piece of cardboard, sheets, wall sample, and floor scraping taken from Ms. Bauer’s house as well as on several swabs from Ms. Bauer’s body.   Tests also confirmed the presence of blood on Tran’s jacket sleeve and on the underwear taken from appellant’s residence.   No blood was discovered on any of the leg braces.

The BCA conducted DNA testing of the blood.   The sample from Tran’s jacket yielded no interpretable results.   DNA from the blood on appellant’s underwear “matched” Ms. Bauer’s DNA profile.   A BCA analyst testified that such a profile occurs in approximately 1 in 339,000 Caucasians.   At least some of the DNA from the samples from Ms. Bauer’s right hand, her left hand, the sheets, the cardboard, and the wall also matched Ms. Bauer’s DNA profile.   Tests indicated that some of these items also contained the blood of a second person.   Neither Tran nor appellant could be positively identified as the source of any of the blood on any of these samples.   According to the BCA, however, Tran, but not appellant, could be excluded as the second source of blood on the sample from Ms. Bauer’s left hand.

Dr. McGee’s autopsy revealed additional evidence linking appellant to Ms. Bauer’s killing.   During the autopsy, Dr. McGee observed and photographed an L-shaped abrasion on Ms. Bauer’s left calf that had been inflicted near the time of Ms. Bauer’s death.   Subsequent to his autopsy, Dr. McGee compared the scaled photograph of this abrasion to the hinges of the right leg braces seized from appellant.   From this comparison, Dr. McGee concluded that the L-shaped abrasion was caused by “either [appellant’s] brace or one of similar configuration and manufacture.”

St. Paul man denies he killed wife as he’s sentenced to life in prison
State of Minnesota v Vincent Stephen Bauer 1999 (conviction and sentence affirmed)
St. Paul man denies he killed wife as he’s sentenced to life in prison (about 1/2 down, within the article)

Movies/Documentaries
Killer Instinct with Chris Hansen: Killers Imprint

INMATE INFORMATION

Demographic Information
MNDOC Offender ID: 195884
Name: Vincent Stephen Bauer
Birth Date: 01/25/1962
Current Status: Incarcerated as of 02/03/1998. Currently at MCF Rush City.
Sentence Date: 02/02/1998
Anticipated Release Date: Life – Contact co-records.doc@state.mn.us for release information.
Expiration Date: Life
Caseworker: William Aagaard (320) 358-0510
Current Offense Information
Highest Ranked Offense: Homicide
Court File Number(s): Ramsey – KX971838

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: