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September 16th, 2011

Opinion mixed on plea agreement

September 16, 2011

Superior Court Judge Timothy Kincaid’s sentence was loud and clear on Thursday – Elisa Baker will serve at least 15 years in state prison. What is less lucid is if her sentence is just.

Elisa’s family members are “torn,” the public thinks “no,” and Zahra Baker’s biological mother seems content with the ruling, but offered no public comment.

September 15th

LIVE: Elisa Baker pleads guilty

September 15, 2011

Elisa Baker has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the death of Zahra Baker.
As part of the agreement, she has been sentenced to 177 months up to 222 months in prison.
The hearing continues as law enforcement offer descriptions of the investigation and the search for Zahra Baker. Among details they provided include Elisa Baker’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.

September 14th

Baker case may be county’s biggest

September 15, 2011

Throughout the Zahra Baker case, the phrase “crime of the century” 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 – 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 “overwhelming” by the defense attorney and judge involved in the case.

Court date marks end of year-long mystery

September 14, 2011

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.

Sheriff steps up security for Baker hearing

September 14, 2011

With all signs pointing to the end of the Elisa Baker murder case being today, law enforcement officials are preparing for a crowd at the courthouse.

“This is a high-profile case, and we anticipate more people being there,” said Catawba County Sheriff Coy Reid. “We will have extra security inside and outside the courtrooms and will have an extra metal detector set up as well.”

September 13th

Hospital reorganizes physician practices

September 14, 2011

Catawba Valley Medical Center (CVMC) is making some big changes and they now have the county’s support.

Catawba County Commissioners approved a resolution on Monday authorizing the creation of Catawba Valley Medical Group Inc., a new non-profit corporation that will organize CVMC’s primary care and cardiology practices under a new, separate entity.

CVMC officials say the hospital’s physician practices can serve the community better and save more money as a separate entity.

Kicking for Christ

September 14, 2011

A longtime Newton dojo is kicking its way into a new facility.


Newton Martial Arts, which is celebrating its 20th year in Newton in 2011, is planning to open a new facility in one of the Alman Furniture Co. buildings near downtown Newton. NMA’s current facility at 23 E. A St. will remain open, but Soke Paul Langford said the addition will provide some much-needed breathing space for the group.

Plea deal in the works?

September 14, 2011

There’s been another postponement of a pre-trial hearing for Elisa Baker amid widespread speculation that a plea bargain is in the works.

The 43-year-old charged with the second-degree murder of her 10-year-old stepdaughter Zahra Baker was slated to appear in Catawba County Superior Court on Monday to learn where her trial will be held after Judge Timothy Kincaid ruled that a change of venue would be in order. However, Kincaid pushed back the hearing after the prosecution and defense said they needed to discuss undisclosed “issues” in the case. 

Maiden man charged with sexual battery

September 14, 2011

A Maiden man has been charged with sexual battery in connection to an incident that occurred Thursday.

Floyd Benson Hicks, 61, of 4687 South Oliver’s Crossroads, Maiden, turned himself in at the Lincolnton Police Department late Monday night on a warrant issued by Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office investigators.

The 15-year-old victim, whose name was not released, said she agreed to ride with the suspect on his Harley Davidson motorcycle, and they went to the Rock Springs Campground in Denver.

No vote on dress code

September 14, 2011

Three members of the public shared their concerns about Newton-Conover City Schools’ proposed standard code of dress policy Monday night.

Then four members of the school board addressed some of those concerns and voiced their own. Board members had enough concerns that the dress code policy was not voted on.

Board member Kyle Drum made a motion to approve the policy, but no one made a second.

“So there will be no standard code of dress at the elementary schools,” said Scott Loudermelt, the board chairman. “At least not for now.”

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