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DA gets help with new law

May 23, 2011

The local district attorney's office is using the help of state representatives to make dismembering a corpse to conceal a crime a felony in North Carolina.

State representatives Tim Moore and Mark Hilton are currently drafting a bill in partnership with Catawba County District Attorney Jay Gaither that will re-word an existing law to make dismembering a corpse to conceal a crime a Class C felony.

"I certainly would hope and believe that this bill will receive a lot of support," Moore said.

Moore said he was contacted by the district attorney's office about the bill.

"We were looking at our statutes," Gaither said, "and we realized there was not a law addressing this issue."

Gaither and his staff looked at how other states treated dismembering a corpse to conceal a crime and realized it is usually severely punished.

"It's about respecting the dignities awarded to the remains of the deceased," Gaither said.

Hilton said he and other supporting representatives plan to bring the bill to a vote within the next two weeks and are in the process of drafting it now.

"It gives prosecutors another tool in the toolbox," Hilton said.

Hilton added that the bill "probably" has roots in the Zahra Baker case.

Baker is the 10-year-old Hickory girl who was originally reported missing Oct. 9. After her remains were found nearly a month later, Elisa Baker, Zahra's stepmother, was charged with second-degree murder.

"When you're looking at the circumstances of that case, you want to look for things to prosecute for, but they don't exist," Hilton said.

Gaither said his recommendation to state representatives is something he does every year.

"As I go through my job to better protect children and better protect the community, I'm going to make that recommendation," Gaither said. "It's something that I do every year."

Comments

Good Intention

May 24, 2011 by LeeHarper (not verified), 3 years 16 weeks ago
Comment: 420

Imagine Tim Moore and Mark Hilton reading a draft in crayon from our buddy Jay asking for a change in the laws. Jay must find it easier to create one than inforce one.

If I had sitting on my desk the next "Casey Anthony" national murder drama; I doubt that I would have time for creative writing. The public demands that you do not rest or sit on your laurels while you occupy that chair; your case is weak and you have yielded precious ground by allowing the defendant to manipulate you.

We have elected you to defend us; not dream up laws. We elect others to do that. Take credit for your wins....if you have any.

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