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Baden trial begins today

Baden trial begins today

Steven A. Baden '92 -- who has admitted he set fire to the "kosher suite" in Burton-Conner House -- is expected to plead not guilty to five counts of armed assault with intent to murder in Middlesex County Superior Court today.

Baden was arrested Jan. 18 after police investigators found a rolled-up newspaper in the suite, burned at one end, and evidence that gasoline had been poured in front of all the suite doors except the door to Baden's room.

That same day Baden admitted to setting the fire. But at his arraignment on Feb. 4, he pleaded innocent to the charges.

Joe Quinlan, an assistant district attorney for Middlesex County who was present for the arraignment, said Baden's actions were "a culmination of a dispute of long-standing with another resident of the suite."

Assistant District Attorney Crispin Birnbaum said an insanity plea may be Baden's primary defense to the charges he faces.

In a pre-trial conference in February, Judge Paul A. Chernoff granted the prosecution's request that a state psychiatrist evaluate Baden.