Updated: 5:42 p.m. Thursday, July 14, 2011 | Posted: 11:30 a.m. Thursday, July 14, 2011
Elisa Baker To Be Arraigned In September On Murder Charge
CATAWBA COUNTY, N.C. —
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Elisa Baker is scheduled to be arraigned in September on a second-degree murder charge in the death of her stepdaughter, Zahra Baker.
The 10-year-old’s girl’s dismembered remains were found last November in Caldwell County. Elisa Baker was charged in Zahra’s death in February.
A Catawba County judge said Thursday that the arraignment, during which Baker will plead either guilty or not guilty, will take place Sept. 12.
The judge did not make a decision Thursday on whether Baker’s trial will be moved out of Catawba County, as requested earlier this week by her attorney. Her lawyer, Scott Reilly, said the intense publicity surrounding the case would make it difficult to find impartial jurors.
But District Attorney Jay Gaither said he thinks the case could be heard in the county.
“We think that a fair and impartial jury can be found in Catawba County,” he said. “It is the judge's call. He's going to have to make that call.”
The judge could make a decision on the matter when Baker returns to court on Aug. 1 for a change of venue hearing. If a decision is made at that hearing, a trial date could possibly be decided on by September.
Baker was in court for about 30 minutes on Thursday. She didn’t speak during the court appearance.