Susan Lynette Baker Murder Trial Set To Begin Jan. 23 In Dunlap

Graysville Woman Charged With Killing Cliff “Roddy” Carden With His Own Gun In 2010

Sunday, January 13, 2013 - by Judy Frank

Nearly two years after a 55-year-old Graysville man allegedly was killed for drugs and $1,000, the case against the woman who prosecutors say pulled the trigger will finally be unveiled in a Sequatchie County courtroom.

Trial is set for Jan. 24 for Susan Lynette Baker, 37, of 185 Hixson Road in Graysville.

Charges against her include felony murder, especially aggravated robbery, and setting fire to personal property and land.

She has been free on $150,000 bond since early 2010.

Ms. Baker is one of two suspects in the Feb. 2, 2010, murder of Clifford “Roddy” Carden, who earlier court testimony has indicated was a drug dealer.

On Feb. 8, six days after the murder, Whitwell resident Thomas Bettis approached Sequatchie County authorities and told them that Ms. Baker shot the victim with his own gun while he was giving her and Bettis a ride in his 1996 Chevrolet Monte Carlo.

Bettis reportedly told police he helped Ms. Baker dispose of the body because he was afraid she might also kill him, according to testimony during a 2010 preliminary hearing.

Ms. Baker, who was sitting in the front passenger seat, fired the fatal shot, assistant district attorney general Steve Strain said at that time. He said Bettis, who was riding in the back, helped Ms. Baker dispose of the body, spend a sizable chunk of the $1,006 they stole from the victim at the Dunlap Wal-Mart, and then “shacked up with her” for several days at the Mountain Inn and Suites.

Ms. Baker, interviewed later, admitted shooting Carden, according to the prosecutor. However, he said, she insisted that the plan was to steal his money and the illegal drugs the victim had been planning to sell.

In court, neither of the defense attorneys denied their clients’ respective roles in the killing and subsequent robbery. But defense attorney Rob Philyaw, who was appointed to represent Ms. Baker, hinted at the strategy he will use to represent his client.

Isn’t it true, attorney Philyaw asked Investigator Joe Lockhart of the Sequatchie County Sheriff’s Department – the only witness to take the stand – that Ms. Baker told officers she had been subjected to domestic abuse by the man she killed?

“She said something like that,” the officer replied.

Officer Lockhart staunchly denied attorney Philyaw’s questions regarding whether Ms. Baker was under the influence of drugs at the time she was questioned – although he did acknowledge, under close questioning, that he had heard reports she went through withdrawal after being put in jail.

Public Defender Jeff Harman, representing Bettis, acknowledged that his client helped dispose of the dead man’s body by dumping it into the Sequatchie River under Pickett Bridge.

Later, he acknowledged, his client went to Walmart with Ms. Baker and then spent several days with her in the motel.

However, the attorney went on, Bettis was afraid to not do what Ms. Baker wanted because she kept the dead man’s gun with her at all times and he feared she would shoot him, too.

The two, who had been involved in an off-and-on sexual relationship for months, went their separate ways after leaving the motel, attorneys said.


Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: ALLEN, SEDRICK DEWAYNE  2211 VANCE AVE CHATTANOOGA, 37404  Age at Arrest: 29 years old Arresting Agency: Hamilton County Booked for Previous Charges or Other Reason(s) --- BOOKER, TRIAN  723 MCGOWAN AVE CHATTANOOGA, 37411  Age at Arrest: 25 years old Arresting Agency: Hamilton County ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Drug Dealer Gets 80-Month Federal Sentence

A Chattanooga man with prior convictions for selling drugs was sentenced to serve 80 months for being a felon in possession of a weapon. Kevyn Nash appeared before Judge Travis McDonough. On Feb., 28, 2016, while on patrol in the 3700 block of Dodds Avenue, a city police officer observed a white Chrysler Concord traveling north on Dodds Avenue. Upon catching up to the vehicle ... (click for more)

Tennessee Business Expansions On Rise Across State

In 2016, Tennessee was named State of the Year for Economic Development by Southern Business & Development Magazine based on project totals and the variety of industries that invested in the state and created jobs. To a great extent, Bradley and Polk Counties have benefited from that investment.   From February 2015 to February 2016, Cleveland/Bradley County led the ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Public Defender And The Mental Health Court

I am holding in my hand a list of the names of 50 very real people who cost the taxpayers of Hamilton County a combined $3,037.090 in incarceration charges before July 2015. These people live in our county and I dare say it is not completely their fault that they were put in the county jail. Each has a professionally-diagnosed mental illness and today, most regretfully, the County ... (click for more)

Lennex Walker Wins A-AA State Pentathlon

MURFREESBORO -- The final Spring Fling is off to a roaring start for CSAS senior Lennex Walker. The most decorated track and field athlete ever for the Lady Patriots, Walker got the ball rolling with a victory in the Class A-AA Pentahlon at the Dean Hayes Track and Soccer Stadium Monday afternoon by winning three of the five events and finishing first with 3,306 points. Unicoi ... (click for more)

Boyd-Buchanan Reaches Class A/AA State Soccer Tournament

The setting was nothing new for the seven seniors on the Boyd-Buchanan boys’ soccer team, but this time the Bucs got to celebrate a different outcome.   Playing in their fourth consecutive Class A/AA state sectional, the Bucs put three years of heartbreak behind them by earning a 1-0 victory over Merrol Hyde and a trip to this week’s state tournament in Murfreesboro. ... (click for more)