Archive - News Article
September 16th, 2011
N.C. District 25 Attorney Jay Gaither on Friday defended and supported his office's decision to pursue a second-degree murder charge for Elisa Baker.
Gaither's defense aligned with comments he made Thursday about what could have happened in the Zahra Baker case if the state had not made the plea agreement with Elisa and her defense attorneys.
Elisa Baker's days in court are not done.
Baker still faces federal drug trafficking charges. The trial is currently set to be heard by U.S. District Court Judge Richard Voorhees at 10 a.m. Nov. 7 in Statesville, according to the U.S. District Attorney's western North Carolina office.
The charges include:
n one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine up to $1 million
Before Elisa Bakerâ€™s sentencing on Thursday, Adam Baker had been primarily quiet.
â€¨He had talked openly to police and investigators, but to the public, his involvement in the murder of 10-year-old Zahra Baker was mysterious. â€¨On Thursday, however, he addressed the court, the public and Elisa herself for the first time openly.
â€¨â€śElisa, I trusted you with the most precious person in my life,â€ť Adam said. â€śYou not only lied to me, you also lied to Zahra. Zahra loved you more than anything in the world. ... You filled her life with lies.â€ť
Throughout the past 11 months, the Zahra Baker case has wore on many Catawba County citizens emotionally â€“ even the areaâ€™s district attorney.
N.C. District 25 Attorney Jay Gaither said while he, his office and area law enforcement were forced to put emotions aside during the case, he said certain details of the event definitely touched everyone.
â€śEmotions come on me quickly and come on me strong,â€ť Gaither said.
â€śThere were a couple of occasions specifically where it was hard to not get emotionally involved.â€ť
Elisa Baker will serve 15-18 years in prison for the murder of 10-year-old Zahra Baker.
While Thursdayâ€™s sentencing ended a nearly year-long criminal follow-up to Zahraâ€™s disappearance and death, law enforcement officials said that many questions surrounding the mystery of her death remain.
Almost a year after Zahra Baker was reported missing from her Hickory home, the world finally got an explanation behind what happened to the 10-year-old Australian girl who won two battles against cancer.
Superior Court Judge Timothy Kincaidâ€™s sentence was loud and clear on Thursday â€“ Elisa Baker will serve at least 15 years in state prison. What is less lucid is if her sentence is just.
Elisaâ€™s family members are â€śtorn,â€ť the public thinks â€śno,â€ť and Zahra Bakerâ€™s biological mother seems content with the ruling, but offered no public comment.
Elisa Baker has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the death of Zahra Baker.â€¨As part of the agreement, she has been sentenced to 177 months up to 222 months in prison.â€¨The hearing continues as law enforcement offer descriptions of the investigation and the search for Zahra Baker. Among details they provided include Elisa Bakerâ€™s statement that Zahra died on Sept. 24, shortly after she was fed. Elisa said she found the child unresponsive inside their Hickory home, and attempted CPR for 20 minutes.
Throughout the Zahra Baker case, the phrase â€ścrime of the centuryâ€ť has been tossed around by citizens and attorneys alike. Regardless of whether the mysterious slaying of the 10-year-old cancer survivor is the most notable crime in county history, one thing is fairly certain â€“ it has been the most watched, read or listened to.
Since the time Zahra mysteriously disappeared on Oct. 9, television, radio and newspaper media have reported non-stop on the case that has been called â€śoverwhelmingâ€ť by the defense attorney and judge involved in the case.
An 11-month mystery started when 10-year-old Zahra Baker was reported missing on Oct. 12, 2010.
Since then, the story of her life, her disappearance and her death have captivated local and national communities. Along the way there have been an array of police investigations and a collection of criminal charges, press conferences, courtroom proceedings, and a few embarrassing gaffes.
The ordeal ongoing nearly a year is expected to end today.