Susan Baker Found Guilty On All Counts In Sequatchie County

Thursday, March 06, 2014
An eight-woman, four-man Sequatchie County jury took just three hours Thursday to convict Susan Lynette Baker of felony murder.

The decision, which was announced shortly before 4 p.m. CST, came less than half a day after defense and prosecution attorneys agreed, during their respective closing arguments, that the jury was not being asked to decide whether Ms. Baker fired the shot that killed Clifford Cardin on Feb. 2, 2011.

Rather, jurors were told shortly before they began deliberating early Thursday afternoon, the question they must answer was whether she fired as part of an attempt to rob him.

That’s exactly what happened, prosecutors said. Find the defendant guilty of felony murder, jurors were told, and “You can go home tonight and put your head on your pillow, and your head will rest easy.”

However, defense attorney Sam Hudson, noting that his client had no criminal history prior to the shooting despite the fact she has been a drug addict most of her adult life, said Ms. Baker is too disorganized to have planned and carried out a complicated crime.

Evidence indicates that Mr. Cardin was driving his vehicle with Ms. Baker sitting beside him, the defense attorney said. Mr. Cardin grabbed her arm, he continued, and – without even aiming – Ms. Baker fired in Mr. Cardin’s general direction with the pistol she had discovered earlier under her seat.

The bullet struck Mr. Cardin in the head and killed him, according to evidence presented during the trial.

The defense attorney said Ms. Baker didn’t know the victim had more than $1,000 in the car until after she and her alleged accomplice, Brian Bettis, had already dumped the dead man’s body in the Sequatchie River.

Under the law, the killing fits the definition of reckless homicide, not felony murder, he told jurors.

No way, prosecutor Steve Strain countered. The reason Mr. Cardin grabbed the defendant’s arm was because he realized she was stealing from him, he said.

Mr. Cardin sold prescription medications for money, according to the prosecutor, and Ms. Baker was an addict. They were together often, he continued, and according to her own testimony she knew he always carried $200 to $300 when they went somewhere together.

“We’re not arguing she intended to kill Clifford Cardin,” he said. “She intended to rob him . . . and felony murder is unlawful killing during the course of (committing) an illegal act.”

Funeral Is Wednesday For Meigs County Woman, 41, Killed In Wreck

Funeral services will be Wednesday for a 41-year-old Meigs County woman who was killed Friday afternoon when another vehicle ran into her car on Highway 58 in Meigs County. Troopers said Klaresha Crass swerved her GMC truck into oncoming traffic to avoid a car waiting to turn left. She hit the Chevrolet occupied by the family of Tammy Renee England Whitted, of Decatur, head-on. ... (click for more)

Walker County Arrest Report For Aug. 25-31

Here is the Walker County arrest report for Aug. 25-31: ALEXANDER    MATTHEW    TODD    W/M    35    Officer CARTER    BATTERY FVA RUSSELL    CASEY    LEWIS    W/M    30    Officer OWENS    SUSPENDED ... (click for more)

Decimating The Chattanooga Public Library

Corinne Hill claims that the library is just undergoing a normal weeding process for eliminating books.  She has bragged that she's responsible for the elimination of over 100,000 books - with more to go. "Normal" weeding is not rampant throwing away.  Yes, books go to the Friends for their sale - where they get $2 for a $75 book and thousands wind up being recycled ... (click for more)

The Many Lessons I Learned From Helen McDonald Exum

Helen McDonald Exum was my friend and mentor. As I think of her passing I can only imagine the celebration that is happening in heaven as the news of her arrival is being told. I am sure that there is a party that not only has she organized but that there is not a detail that has been left to chance. I am sure that it is the grandest of events, for you see, she has been planing ... (click for more)

Worley-Powered Vols Clobber Utah State, 38-7, In Opener

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee, trying to snap out of the doldrums of four consecutive losing seasons, started its 2014 campaign in fine fashion Sunday night before a season opening sellout crowd of 102,445 that endured a heavy rain story 30 minutes prior to kickoff. And senior quarterback Justin Worley, who missed the final four games in 2013 after undergoing thumb surgery, was ... (click for more)

Lookouts Reach Southern League Northern Division Playoffs With Doubleheader Win Over Smokies

The Chattanooga Lookouts are now playoff bound after sweeping a double-header against the Tennessee Smokies  to clinch the Southern League North Division for the second half of the season. The first game of the double-header was backed by a masterful gem of a game thrown by the starter for the Lookouts, Steve Smith (W, 3-2). Smith dominated the Smokies' lineup from top ... (click for more)