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ZAHRA CLAIRE BAKER - Aged 10 years - Hickory, North Carolina (USA)

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default Re: ZAHRA CLAIRE BAKER - Aged 10 years - Hickory, North Carolina (USA)

Post  Twiglet on Tue Feb 22, 2011 9:53 am

Fox News

21 February 2011

Stepmom Indicted in Death of NC Girl as Autopsy Reveals Her Head Is Still Missing

Authorities have not recovered head of a disabled North Carolina girl whose stepmother has been indicted on a murder charge and accused of dismembering the 10-year-old's body.

An autopsy report released Monday shows that medical examiners say the cause of Zahra Baker's death was undetermined homicidal violence. Examiners say many bones were not present for the autopsy, most notably Zahra Baker's skull. Several bones show cutting tool marks consistent with dismemberment.

Documents show that police learned months ago that the freckle-faced little girl was dismembered after she died, but an exact cause of death has not been revealed. The lack of a head may help to explain that -- and why it took four months for a charge in her death.


http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/02/21/stepmother-indicted-death-disabled-north-carolina-girl/

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Post  Twiglet on Tue Feb 22, 2011 9:55 am

San Jose Mercury News

21 February 2011

Stepmother indicted in death of disabled NC girl‎

http://www.mercurynews.com/breaking-news/ci_17443480?nclick_check=1

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Post  Twiglet on Tue Feb 22, 2011 9:55 am

ABC Online

21 February 2011

Zahra's stepmother charged with murder‎

After months of investigation the American stepmother of Zahra Baker has been charged with second degree murder.

Zahra, 10, was reported missing last October. Her stepmother Elisa Baker was arrested and charged with obstructing justice.

Police in North Carolina found the girl's remains in November.

Her Australian father has denied any part in killing or dismembering Zahra and authorities say at this stage there is no evidence to suggest anyone else was involved.

Now a grand jury has indicted the stepmother, charging her with second degree murder.


http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011/02/22/3144964.htm

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Post  Twiglet on Wed Mar 09, 2011 9:35 am

Herald Sun

22 February 2011

More gruesome Zahra details revealed‎

A GRAND jury in North Carolina has indicted Elisa Annette Baker for the second-degree murder of her stepdaughter, Zahra Baker, the cancer-stricken Australian child who came to live in the United States with her father, Adam Baker, 33.
The indictment states that Zahra, aged 10, was murdered on September 24, 2010, more than two weeks before her father placed an emergency call to authorities on October 9, saying Zahra was missing.

District Attorney James "Jay" Gaither told a media conference in the town of Hickory: "At this time the state has no credible evidence to suggest that anyone other than Elisa Baker was involved in the murder of Zahra Clare Baker," he said.

Mr Baker's name was not even mentioned during the press conference. He has not been charged but questions remain as to how it was he was unaware that Zahra was not in the house where they lived in Hickory for such a long time.

Claiming he was relieved at the charges against his wife, he told a local television station a short time ago that he was working long hours and believed Zahra was asleep in bed.

The indictment, which was brought down in the Superior Court of Catawba County, also charged Mrs Baker on aggravating factors, saying she "had a history of physical, verbal and psychological abuse" towards Zahra, whose cancer treatment in Australia had left her deaf and walking with a prosthetic leg.

"The defendant secreted the victim from the family and other prior to and after the offence, delaying detection of the offence," read the indictment.

"The defendant desecrated the victim’s body to hinder detection, investigation and prosecution of the offence."

An autopsy of Zahra’s partial remains was also released yesterday, in which the Chief Medical Examiner stated that many of Zahra’s bones were not present for examination, including her skull, which has not been found.

"Several of the bones exhibit cutting tool marks that are consistent with dismemberment," the report states. "The marks grossly appear to result from the use of at least two different cutting instruments.

"Two of the right ribs exhibit healed remote fractures which may be the result of prior surgical intervention. Based on the history and autopsy findings, it is our opinion that the cause of death in this case is undetermined homicidal violence."

Mrs Baker led authorities to parts of Zahra’s remains after she was found to have written a fake ransom note. Until today, she was also being held in Catawba prison on charges relating to obstruction, and bigamy charges.


http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/world/stepmother-of-zahra-baker-indicted-on-second-degree-murder-charge/story-e6frf7lf-1226009799347

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Post  Twiglet on Wed Mar 09, 2011 9:37 am

Examiner

21 February 2011

Zahra Baker Autopsy Released‎

http://www.examiner.com/true-crime-in-midlandodessa/zahra-baker-autopsy-released

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Post  Twiglet on Wed Mar 09, 2011 9:39 am

CBS News

22 February 2011

Zahra Baker Update: Stepmom only suspect in disabled NC girl's death, say police

HICKORY, N.C. - Police have named Elisa Baker the sole suspect in the murder of her disabled stepdaughter Zahra Baker, moments after a grand jury indicted her in the death and dismemberment of the 10-year-old girl last year, according to CBS affiliate WBTV.

Meanwhile, the state medical examiner's autopsy report was released regarding the girl's death, which was classified as "Undetermined - homicidal violence."

Hours after the indictment, officials held a press conference and talked about the indictment and the case.

"At this time the state has no credible evidence to suggest that anyone other than Elisa Baker was involved in the murder of Zahra Clare Baker," said Jay Gaither, prosecutor for the 25th District, which includes Catawba County, during a press conference Monday afternoon, according to WBTV.


http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504083_162-20034728-504083.html

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Post  merlynsam on Thu Mar 17, 2011 12:14 pm

Criminal Profiler - Pat Brown - comments on Zahra Baker case


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Post  Twiglet on Sat May 07, 2011 6:13 am

Hickory Daily Record

11 April 2011

Adam Baker to return to Australia soon?‎
Cases continued Monday, but he's working to get charges cleared up.

Adam Baker has already paid the money owed for his worthless check charges. He hopes to go back to his homeland of Australia soon.

Adam and Elisa were both scheduled to be in Caldwell County district court on Monday on numerous charges. Adam had five counts of worthless checks, two counts of communicating threats, one count of assault with a deadly weapon and one count of failure to return rental property.

Elisa had six traffic charges or infractions, one count of fraudulent disposal of mortgage property, one count of failure to return rental property on which there is a purchase option and four counts of communicating threats.

All charges for Elisa and Adam were continued until June 13 because Elisa’s attorney, Scott Reilly, was in Catawba County superior court on Monday and was unavailable for district court.

“As soon as all these matters are resolved and he has permission, he’ll be heading back home to Australia,” said Shell Pearce, Adam’s attorney for the Caldwell County charges.

Hickory Police Chief Tom Adkins confirmed that investigators with the department are meeting with Adam and his Catawba County attorney, Mark Killian, later this week, but said he could not comment on what they were going to talk about.

Pearce said it was foolish for Adam to leave the country now even if he could, because he has already bonded out of jail. He was arrested in October and placed under a $7,000 bond for several charges unrelated to Zahra’s disappearance and death. He bonded out that month.

“He’s under bond his family made for him, and he’ll answer those charges,” Pearce said.

He said Adam’s family paid the money Adam owed for the worthless checks. Pearce said Adam hopes for a swift resolution with the other charges.

“As far as the other charges, Adam does not intend on entering a plea of guilty to those charges, so we plan on having a trial.”

All of the charges Adam and Elisa are facing in Caldwell County are misdemeanors.

Pearce said Adam is hoping these charges are resolved quickly, so he can go home to Australia. However, if need be, Adam will come back to North Carolina.

“If he's called upon to do so and it is necessary to do so he’d definitely be back for any trial that he’s required to be at,” Pearce said.


http://www2.hickoryrecord.com/news/2011/apr/11/10/adam-baker-return-australia-soon-ar-939383/

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Post  Twiglet on Sat May 07, 2011 6:15 am

Hickory Daily Record

15 April 2011

Zahra's playground gets help from Galaxy stores‎

A playground being built in honor of Zahra Clare Baker is getting a boost because of the generosity of store owners.

Three area Fresh Air Galaxy stores, owned by Ricky and Sheree Knighton and Steve Grindstaff, are working with area Kiwanis Clubs to raise money for the Zahra Baker All Children’s Playground by selling support cards for donations.

The cards feature Zahra’s smiling face, as she looks off to the left in a photo that has been seen countless times in the media. The donor can write their name at the top of the card, which can be purchased for $1, $5 or $10. Staff at Galaxy display the cards in the windows of the stores. Some people who have purchased the cards write notes to Zahra on their cards, as well.

Customer Ronnie Burns immediately agreed to purchase a card when asked by an employee.

“I’ve been following this since day one,” he said. “It’s terribly sad. This has been a thorn in my heel since day one.”


http://www2.hickoryrecord.com/news/2011/apr/14/7/zahras-playground-gets-help-galaxy-stores-ar-949143/

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Post  Twiglet on Sat May 07, 2011 6:17 am

Hickory Daily Record

4 May 2011

Elisa Baker under heavy guard at Caldwell County arraignment‎

Elisa Baker pleaded not guilty in her arraignment hearing for four felony charges in Caldwell County Wednesday afternoon.

Baker, 42, was in court for two counts each of felony identity theft and felony obtaining property by false pretenses. She is accused of using her daughter’s information to obtain phone and communication information from CenturyLink at a Hudson residence, as well as that same daughter’s information to get services from Duke Energy.

Baker was transported from the Catawba County jail in an unmarked car. When she arrived at the Caldwell County courthouse she was wearing a bulletproof vest. Two SWAT officers in tactical gear and assault rifles were waiting near the entrance to ensure Baker arrived safely inside.

Caldwell County Sheriff Alan Jones and Catawba County Sheriff Coy Reid said Baker has not received any death threats that would account for the extra security. Jones said this is something that is done for high-profile cases. A SWAT officer said they are called to the courthouse to assist with defendants fewer than 10 times a year.

As Baker walked into the courtroom, legs shackled, she bit her lips and looked around with wide eyes.


http://www2.hickoryrecord.com/news/2011/may/04/elisa-baker-under-heavy-guard-caldwell-county-arra-ar-1005585/

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Post  merlynsam on Thu Jun 02, 2011 2:48 pm

NewsChannel 36

Posted on May 18, 2011 at 11:18 AM

Zahra Baker to be honored at NASCAR race

Zahra Clare Baker, 10, gets a hearing aid at an event at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C. in May 2010.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- NASCAR will pay tribute to Zahra Baker at Friday night's truck race.

The 10-year-old Hickory girl was killed in September 2010.

On Tuesday, Kyle Busch Motorsports and Speedway Children's Charities announced Busch will drive in the North Carolina Education Lottery 200 with Zahra's name and picture above the passenger side window of his truck.

The speedway will also call for a moment of silence and release balloons in Zahra's honor before the race.

Zahra's stepmother, Elisa Baker, is charged with second-degree murder in the girl's death.

http://www.wcnc.com/news/local/Zahra-Baker-to-be-honored-at-NASCAR-race-122156024.html

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Post  merlynsam on Thu Jun 02, 2011 2:53 pm

Associated Press

Posted on May 23, 2011 at 3:15 PM

Zahra Baker's death may prompt new state law

RALEIGH, N.C. -- The prosecutor in the Zahra Baker case wants North Carolina lawmakers to penalize the act of dismembering a body in order to conceal a crime.

District Attorney James Gaither said Friday he's working with two state representatives to introduce a bill this session. It's already illegal to secretly bury a corpse or conceal a death in order to cover up a crime. The bill Gaither wants would add dismembering a body to the list.

Zahra Baker, a 10-year-old girl with disabilities, was reported missing from her Hickory home last October. Police eventually found some of her remains in searches around western North Carolina. Her head remains missing.

Zahra's stepmother, Elisa Baker, has been charged with second-degree murder. Court documents say Elisa Baker told investigators Zahra was dismembered after dying.

http://www.wcnc.com/news/local/Zahra-Bakers-death-may-prompt-new-state-law-122460749.html

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Post  merlynsam on Thu Jun 02, 2011 2:59 pm

Associated Press

Published: May 26, 2011

NC stepmom of slain disabled girl held on charges

Elisa Baker, stepmother of Zahra Clare Baker, appears before Superior Court Judge Beverly T. Beal Wednesday morning. Here, Baker is flanked by two Caldwell County deputies as she walks into Caldwell County Superior courtroom.

A North Carolina woman accused in the death of her 10-year-old disabled stepdaughter has made her first appearance in federal court on charges of trafficking prescription medications.

U.S. Magistrate David Keesler in Charlotte on Thursday ordered that 43-year-old Elisa Baker be held until a detention hearing on June 2.

Federal prosecutors say Baker distributed and planned to distribute drugs including oxycodone and hydrocodone between 2006 and last October. She also is accused of conspiring with others to distribute the drugs.

Baker faces seven counts. The punishment for all the charges could bring a prison sentence of up to 140 years.

Baker also is charged in state court with second-degree murder in the death of Zahra Baker. Authorities say Elisa Baker dismembered the girl's body to cover up the slaying.

http://www2.nbc17.com/news/2011/may/26/nc-stepmom-slain-disabled-girl-held-charges-ar-1067063/

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Post  Twiglet on Fri Jul 22, 2011 8:49 am

NBC 17

12 July 2011

Hickory girl's stepmother wants murder trial moved

‎The woman charged with murdering her 10-year-old stepdaughter in western North Carolina last year says she can't get a fair trial there.

Lawyers for Elisa Baker filed a motion Tuesday seeking to have her trial moved from Catawba County. Attorney Scott Reilly says that media coverage of the case has made it impossible to find 12 impartial jurors in the area.

Baker is accused of killing Zahra Baker, an Australian girl whose treatment for cancer left her with a prosthetic leg and hearing aids.

Zahra's remains were found in multiple sites last year after she was reported missing in October.

Elisa Baker is scheduled to be in court on Thursday. Her husband, Adam Baker, appeared Tuesday in Catawba County court on charges unrelated to his daughter.


http://www2.nbc17.com/news/2011/jul/12/hickory-girls-stepmother-wants-murder-trial-moved-ar-1201151/

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Post  Twiglet on Fri Jul 22, 2011 8:52 am

NBC 17

14 July 2011

Sept. court date for woman in stepdaughter's death

A North Carolina judge says a woman charged in the death of her 10-year-old disabled stepdaughter will be arraigned in September, but first he will hear a motion about moving the trial because of publicity.

Catawba County Judge Timothy Kincaid set the court date Wednesday during a hearing for 43-year-old Elisa Baker. She faces a charge of second-degree murder in the death of Zahra Baker, the freckle-faced Australian girl who had a prosthetic leg and hearing aids because of her fight with bone cancer.

Authorities say Baker dismembered the girl's body to cover up her killing.

Baker's lawyer Scott Reilly filed a motion this week to move the trial to another county. But Prosecutor Jay Gaither says he'll be able to seat an impartial jury from Catawba County.


http://www2.nbc17.com/news/2011/jul/14/sept-court-date-woman-stepdaughters-death-ar-1207366/

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Post  Twiglet on Fri Jul 22, 2011 8:55 am

Hickory Daily Record

14 July 2011

Trial preparations begin in death of Zahra Baker
Prosecution, defense plot steps leading up to Elisa Baker’s murder trial

Elisa Baker sat silently during Thursday’s administrative hearing in Catawba County’s Superior Court.

The woman accused of murdering and dismembering her 10-year-old stepdaughter, Zahra Baker and hiding the remains, sat with her chained hands folded on her lap while the judge, defense and prosecution discussed her charges and made sure everything is in order as her case moves toward trial.

Baker is facing nine felony charges, including second-degree murder and obstruction of justice. She’s facing more than 20 misdemeanor charges as well for crimes like passing bad checks and communicating threats. On top of that she’s facing seven federal drug charges for allegedly trafficking in prescription pain killers.

Several procedural matters were discussed at the hearing.

District Attorney Jay Gaither told Superior Court Judge Timothy Kincaid that he intends to try Baker on murder charges after her additional felony cases are concluded.

After the hearing, Gaither said that Baker committed her other crimes before she killed Zahra and she’ll be tried for them first. He did not address the fact that, according to state sentencing guidelines, Baker will do more prison time for a murder conviction if she already has prior felony convictions.


http://www2.hickoryrecord.com/news/2011/jul/14/7/zara-baker-trial-preparations-begin-ar-1207577/

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Post  Twiglet on Fri Jul 22, 2011 8:56 am

abc 11

14 July 2011

Judge sets arraignment date for Elisa Baker

A judge said Wednesday he will hear arguments on whether the trial for a North Carolina woman charged in the death of her 10-year-old disabled stepdaughter should be moved because of publicity surrounding the case.

Elisa Baker, 43, is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Zahra Baker, the freckle-faced Australian girl who had a prosthetic leg and hearing aids because of her fight with bone cancer. Authorities say Baker dismembered the girl's body to cover up her killing. If convicted, she could face up to 30 years in prison.


http://abclocal.go.com/wtvd/story?section=news/local&id=8250396

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Post  Twiglet on Fri Jul 22, 2011 8:59 am

Hickory Daily Record

21 July 2011

Pancakes for the playground
Friday feast will benefit the Zahra facility

If you want to help build the Zahra Baker All Children’s Playground, just eat some pancakes.

O’Charley’s of Hickory is having a pancake feast Friday to raise money for the playground.

The playground will be for all children, but the focus is on disabled and impaired kids. The special playground equipment will give children opportunities to have fun they usually miss at traditional parks.

The Kiwanis Clubs in Catawba County are spearheading the project, partnering with the City of Hickory and a host of supporters. Kiwanians have been selling $5 tickets to the pancake feast at O’Charley’s, but walk-in customers are welcome.

The feast is from 7 am to 10 a.m., at the restaurant on U.S. 70 East, near Catawba Valley Community College and across the highway from Barnes & Noble.

“I’m just supporting the project for Zahra,” said Bill Wiggs, former president of the Western Catawba County Kiwanis Club and former Kiwanis Carolinas District governor. “We have all come together, trying to make something happen for our community.”

Wiggs said the current Carolinas District governor has sold 100 tickets for the event and will be in attendance.


http://www2.hickoryrecord.com/news/2011/jul/21/pancakes-playground-ar-1227923/



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Post  Twiglet on Sat Sep 17, 2011 4:45 am

Virginian-Pilot

1 August 2011

Judge grants change of venue in NC stepmom's trial

Citing intense pretrial publicity, a judge ruled Monday that the trial of a North Carolina woman charged in the death of her 10-year-old disabled stepdaughter will be moved.

Superior Court Judge Timothy Kincaid set Sept. 12 as the date when he will rule on where the trial of 43-year-old Elisa Baker will be held.

Baker is charged with second-degree murder and obstruction of justice in the death of Zahra Baker, the freckle-faced Australian girl who had a prosthetic leg and hearing aids because of her fight with bone cancer. Authorities say Baker dismembered the girl's body to cover up her killing. She could face up to 30 years in prison if she's convicted.

Baker's attorney, Scott Reilly, has argued that publicity has made it difficult to seat an impartial jury.


http://hamptonroads.com/2011/08/judge-grants-change-venue-nc-stepmoms-trial

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Post  Twiglet on Sat Sep 17, 2011 4:48 am

Sacramento Bee

12 September 2011

Arraignment delayed in NC stepdaughter's death

A hearing in the case of a North Carolina woman accused of killing her 10-year-old disabled stepdaughter has been postponed after attorneys spoke with the judge.

Lawyers appearing in Catawba County Superior Court Monday said they had spoken with Judge Timothy Kincaid, who agreed to move the hearing to Wednesday morning.


http://www.sacbee.com/2011/09/12/3904154/arraignment-delayed-in-nc-stepdaughters.html

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Post  Twiglet on Sat Sep 17, 2011 4:51 am

WSOC Charlotte

12 September 2011

Elisa Baker's attorney, DA meet in Zahra case

Channel 9 reporter Dave Faherty was in the courtroom Monday as all the key players in a possible plea deal in the Zahra Baker murder case dodged questions.
Faherty heard as early as last week that the two sides were meeting but knew something was possibly up when he saw the police chief and family members in the courtroom Monday.


http://www.wsoctv.com/news/29159947/detail.html

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Post  Twiglet on Sat Sep 17, 2011 4:53 am

Charlotte Observer

12 September 2011

Plea deal possible in Zahra Baker case
Negotiations could lead to a resolution of murder case against girl's stepmother.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys are in negotiations that could put an end to the nearly yearlong murder case of 10-year-old Zahra Baker of Hickory.

Defense Attorney Scott Reilly told the Observer on Monday night that he is in discussions with District Attorney Jay Gaither on resolving the second-degree murder charges against Zahra's stepmother, Elisa Baker, possibly as early as Wednesday.

"We're having productive discussions and we're working toward the goal of resolving the cases," he said.

On Monday, Elisa Baker returned to Catawba County court for a change of venue hearing. But Superior Court Judge Timothy Kincaid postponed it until Wednesday to allow the attorneys to continue negotiations.

Reilly would not discuss specifics of any plea deal, but said he wants to advise his client on her best options based on the prosecution's case. If convicted of second-degree murder, Baker could face as few as eight years - or as many as 30 - in prison.

The story of Zahra Baker, the young girl with the beautiful smile who survived cancer and lived with a hearing impairment, drew worldwide attention. In Australia, where she was born, news media documented every aspect of the case. In Hickory, residents held multiple vigils and built a memorial site in her honor.

In February, Elisa Baker was charged with second-degree murder after an autopsy concluded Zahra had died from "undetermined homicidal violence."

The autopsy ruled out the possibility of a natural death, as Elisa Baker had claimed. She accused her husband, Adam Baker, of dismembering his daughter's body after she had discovered Zahra dead from an illness


http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2011/09/13/2603276/plea-deal-possible-zahra-baker.html

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Post  Twiglet on Sat Sep 17, 2011 4:55 am

KSDK

13 September 2011

Mother accused of murdering step-daughter in court Thursday

The case of a North Carolina woman accused of killing her step-daughter and dismembering the child's body will be heard in court Thursday.

The judge reportedly changed the date of the Zahra Baker murder case to accommodate her biological mother traveling from Australia.

When Elisa baker finally did get in the courtroom, her appearance didn't last long. In less than 60 seconds, the district attorney and Baker's lawyer told the judge they had been meeting through the weekend and hopefully could reach a resolution by Wednesday.


http://www.ksdk.com/news/article/276613/28/Mother-accused-of-murdering-step-daughter-in-court-Thursday

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Post  Twiglet on Sat Sep 17, 2011 4:57 am

Sydney Morning Herald

14 September 2011

Zahra's mum flies to US ahead of plea deal

The biological mother of murdered 10-year-old Zahra Baker has flown from Australia to North Carolina as prosecutors and the lawyer for the woman accused of the killing negotiate a possible plea deal.

To accommodate Emily Dietrich's long flight from Wagga Wagga in country NSW, a court hearing set for Wednesday in the Catawba County Courthouse has been pushed back a day.

At Thursday's re-scheduled hearing, prosecutors and lawyers for the woman accused of the murder and dismemberment, Zahra's stepmother Elisa Baker, are expected to announce if they have reached a plea deal.

Baker, 43, was facing up to 30 years in jail if found guilty of a second degree murder charge, but could face less jail time if a plea deal is reached.

News of a potential deal has angered locals in the North Carolina town of Hickory, where Zahra lived with her biological father, Adam Baker, and her stepmother.


http://news.smh.com.au/breaking-news-world/zahras-mum-flies-to-us-ahead-of-plea-deal-20110915-1ka1u.html

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Post  Twiglet on Sat Sep 17, 2011 5:01 am

Hickory Daily Record

14 September 2011

Courthouse tightens security for Baker case

One of Catawba County's biggest cases in recent years may come to a close Thursday, and law enforcement is tightening security.

Elisa Baker, 43, is charged with second-degree murder in the death of her 10-year-old stepdaughter, as well as obstruction of justice, bigamy and six other unrelated felonies. Her court hearing will begin at 9:30 a.m. today, and it is expected she will plead guilty in a plea arrangement worked out with the district attorney’s office.

There will be extra officers on hand for the added foot traffic expected at the courthouse, said Catawba County Sheriff Coy Reid.

“With a high-profile case like this, a lot of people are interested in the outcome,” he said. “Better safe than sorry.”

There will be an additional 10 officers who will be in the courthouse, Reid said. Newton police will assist the sheriff’s office.


http://www2.hickoryrecord.com/news/2011/sep/14/courthouse-tightens-security-baker-case-ar-1391900/

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