Sequatchie County Jurors Hear Interview Of Woman Charged In Roddy Carden Murder

Wednesday, March 5, 2014 - by Judy Frank
More than three years after Bledsoe County resident Clifford “Roddy” Carden Jr. was murdered on Feb. 2, 2011, in southern Sequatchie County, a murder trial for the Graysville woman accused of firing the shot that killed him is finally underway.

Jurors spent most of the day Wednesday listening to a series of prosecution witnesses, many of them law enforcement personnel.
They were also trying to make sense of a videotape that showed two officers interrogating Susan Lynette Baker shortly after her arrest six days after the fatal shooting.

During that interview, Ms. Baker admitted she was the one who fired the shot that killed Mr. Carden. Later in the day, prosecutors rested and the defense began presenting its proof. The trial will resume Thursday morning.

According to evidence, Ms. Baker was arrested after her accomplice, 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 dump the body in the Sequatchie River, where it was later found, because he was afraid she might also kill him.
 
The lengthy interview with Ms. Baker began almost gently, the videotape showed, with Sequatchie County Investigator Jody Lockhart telling her that Bettis already had been interviewed and identified her as the killer.

“Now we want to know your side, that’s all we want,” Officer Lockhart told the defendant as she sat hunched under a large blanket in an interrogation room chair.

Ms. Baker, who cried intermittently throughout the sometimes incoherent session, appeared confused and unable to recall details. Occasionally, as she attempted to explain what happened, her voice gradually become fogged with emotion and, eventually, rose to an unintelligible wail.

As the interview proceeded it became increasingly strident, with officers confronting Ms. Baker when she made statements they said they knew could not be true.

“We understand that you’re scared,” Officer Lockhart told her at one point, “but we already know quite a bit. We’re pretty good policemen, we’ve been at this for a while . . . . (Bettis) didn’t kill Clifford. You killed Clifford. Didn’t you?”

Jurors, like others in the courtroom, appeared to have trouble understanding some of the dialogue on the videotape.

During one break, the judge told attorneys out of the jury’s presence, a juror had approached a court officer and asked if they could get a transcript.

The answer to that question, he and attorneys agreed, was no.

“We don’t have a verified copy of the transcript,” the judge explained to jurors after they returned to the courtroom. “This videotape is the best evidence we have, and you are to rely on the best evidence.”

Throughout the afternoon Ms. Baker, whose head was not turned toward the video, sat silent and unmoving. In the courtroom behind her, however, some observers appeared to become increasingly riled.

A stout man sitting close to the front of the courtroom on the prosecutor’s side, for example, watched the video closely. Every few minutes, however, he turned toward the defense table and, frowning, stared intently at the back of Ms. Baker’s head.

Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: ALLEN, DAVID WILLIAM  507 RIDGE DR CLEVELAND, 37312  Age at Arrest: 25 years old Arresting Agency: Hamilton County DRIVING ON REVOKED, SUSPENDED OR CANCELLED LICENSE --- ANDREWS, CHARLES LLOYD  2301 EAST 5TH STREET APT A CHATTANOOGA, 37404  Age at Arrest: 62 years old Arresting ... (click for more)

Person Shot At Apartments In East Brainerd Early Friday Morning

A person was shot at apartments in East Brainerd early Friday morning. At approximately 2:15 a.m., Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office deputies were dispatched to 3400 Jenkins Road to the Standifer Place Apartments in reference to a person who had been shot.  The sheriff's office Criminal Investigation Division was investigating. (click for more)

Who's Responsible For East Ridge's Stadium? - And Response (2)

There just can be no excuse for East Ridge High School's stadium being in such dangerous condition that it has been condemned.   Where is responsible for this? I know there are a few other stadiums like this as well. And there is no excuse for this.  Building new and beautiful schools, state of the art technology. Top athletic facilities as well. Yet, East Ridge ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Every Child Must Watch This

In the course of my day, I read different websites, am sent all kinds of neat videos and I love the jokes I get. But when I logged onto my ever-bulging email account Thursday morning, I happened across the scariest, most terrifying video I have ever watched. There is a website I check called “Atchuup” that boasts “cool stories daily.” Some are pretty good but this one nearly knocked ... (click for more)

Wrestling Session Sparks Lady 'Canes To Volleyball Win

All season long, East Hamilton volleyball coach Kristy Lenoir has been less than pleased with her team’s lack of emotion on the court. So, to change that Lenoir spent her allotted practice time putting the Lady Hurricanes through one-on-one wrestling matches. Yep, wrestling. “I’ve never had a practice like that one,” Lenoir said Thursday. “We’ve lacked emotion and a desire ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Football Opener: UTC vs. Jax State – Saturday at Finley Stadium; 6 p.m.

Saturday at Finley Stadium at 6 p.m.  it’s No.8 Chattanooga vs. No.7 Jacksonville (Ala.) State in arguably the most anticipated and talked about game in Chattanooga football history. An important region rivalry as a pair of top 10 FCS schools meet for the 39th time in the season opener for both schools. “This should be a great game between two of the best teams in ... (click for more)