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Archive - Jan 5, 2012 - News Article

Jail looming

January 5, 2012

Adam Baker thought he’d be home next week, but will instead serve 30 days in Caldwell County jail.

Baker, the father of slain 10-year-old Zahra and an Australian citizen, was expecting to return home next week, but will now serve jail time after being convicted of misdemeanor assault with a deadly weapon in Caldwell County Thursday evening.

Baker’s appearance and conviction in Caldwell County court followed a successful plea deal in Catawba County Thursday morning.

Mill Creek student wins spelling bee

January 5, 2012

Catawba County Schools' spelling bee was finished in near record time, and there was a little controversy involved before the Maiden High School auditorium.

Mill Creek Middle School eighth-grader Savannah Clay correctly spelled "auditorium" and then "controversy," to claim the school system's spelling championship. She'll now advance to the regional competition in Charlotte on Feb. 20.

Clay defeated first runner-up Snow Creek Elementary student Catherine McMahan, who missed the correct spelling for "flouride."

Murder Rate

January 5, 2012

There were 11 murders in Catawba County in 2011. There were five murders countywide in 2010.

Authorities say the increase could be due to several factors, but is not abnormally high or reflect a negative trend.

The Catawba County Sheriff’s Office handled seven murders in 2011, compared to three in 2010.

Sheriff Coy Reid said his office deals with three to six murders each year. He said he didn’t think the 2011 increase in murders reflect a bad trend or growing crime presence, but rather thinks it was a reflection of the type of crimes that were committed.

Blaze burns barn, men save home

January 5, 2012

A Maiden man and his son helped stop a fire Thursday just before it destroyed his parents’ home.

Nathan Painter and his son, Joseph, arrived at his parents’ home on the 1800 block of P.L. Propst Road in Maiden about 1 p.m. Thursday to a large fire burning in the house’s front yard.

A barn, located behind the home, caught fire just minutes before, and the blaze had now spread to the front yard.

Elisa Baker pleads guilty to federal drug charge, faces 20 years

January 5, 2012

CHARLOTTE — The North Carolina woman sentenced to prison for killing her 10-year-old disabled stepdaughter also pleaded guilty Thursday to a federal drug charge.

Prosecutors agreed to drop six other charges after Elisa Baker entered the plea in U.S. District Court in Charlotte to one count of conspiracy to sell drugs. She faces up to 20 years in prison and a $1 million dollar fine at her sentencing, which hasn't been scheduled yet.

Prosecutors say that between 2006 and 2010, Baker helped distribute more than 50,000 painkillers and anti-anxiety pills in Catawba and Caldwell counties.

BREAKING: Baker felonies dismissed, receives unsupervised probation

January 5, 2012

The father of 10-year-old Zahra Baker is expected to be deported soon after his Catawba County felony charges were dismissed this morning.

As a result of a plea deal entered today, Adam Baker’s felony charges of obtaining property by false pretenses and identity theft were dismissed. He pleaded guilty to taking electricity unlawfully and will be required to pay restitution of almost $350, which he paid this morning.

He also received a sentence that included unsupervised probation for the guilty plea on the misdemeanor charge.

The O-N-E Morning Read: Thursday, Jan. 5

January 5, 2012

It is time for Catawba County property owners to pay up or pay interest. Property taxes are due today. Pick up Thursday’s edition of The O-N-E to find out how to make your tax payment without waiting in line.

Zahra Baker’s father, Adam, is expected to enter a plea deal on felony charges today. Visit www.observernewsonline.com for details about the deal as soon as it is announced.

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