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 Bradley County Arrest Report

Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Planning Commission Recommends M-1 Zoning For Tubman Site Despite Some Community Opposition


Click here for the latest Bradley County arrest report. (click for more)

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: AR-RAHMAAN, RAPHEAL LAMAR 2311 E 14TH ST CHATTANOOGA, 37404 Age at Arrest: 29 years old Arresting Agency: Federal Marshall ... (click for more)

The Planning Commission on Monday afternoon unanimously recommended M-1 zoning for most of the 44-acre Harriet Tubman site in East Chattanooga. A section by Roanoke Avenue would be left R-3, ... (click for more)


Breaking News

Latest Bradley County Arrest Report

Click here for the latest Bradley County arrest report. (click for more)

Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: AR-RAHMAAN, RAPHEAL LAMAR 2311 E 14TH ST CHATTANOOGA, 37404 Age at Arrest: 29 years old Arresting Agency: Federal Marshall Booked for Previous Charges or Other Reason(s) --- BROWN, JOSEPH DILLION 377 LYLES RD SE LT 74 CLEVELAND, 37323 Age at Arrest: 25 years old Arresting Agency: Chattanooga POSSESSING ... (click for more)

Opinion

TVA Land Grab

The Georgetown land grab is just ‘Business as Usual’ for TVA. For the past 80 years they’ve shown their stripes in this matter - 170,000 acres seized at LBL, countless acreage taken in the Tennessee River Valley. Land taken for coal and nuclear sites. All by the same play book. All from average people. We want this, you have this, we get this. I worked with TVA as a ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: USA Today Is Wrong

After spending half of a century in the newspaper business, you will find it universal that one’s “personal ethics” demand you leave children off the news page. You don’t interview an 11-year-old who just watched her house burn down and now can’t find her kitty. You don’t take a kid’s picture at his daddy’s trial and, more than anything, never publish a word that would cause a child ... (click for more)

Sports

Admiral Schofield Leads Tennessee To 76-73 Upset Of #1 Gonzaga

Admiral Schofield led the once-beaten Tennessee Vols to an upset of top-ranked Gonzaga, 76-73, on Sunday afternoon. In a game played in Phoenix, the Vols led by as many as 9 early, then were in the lead at halftime 34-33. The previously-undefeated Zags built their own lead on the shooting of Zach Norvell Jr., then seemed to have the advantage when Vol star Grant Williams went ... (click for more)

Meme Jackson Has Career Day To Lead #9 Lady Vols Over #12 Texas In Austin

Senior Meme Jackson logged a career-high 33 points to lift the No. 9/9 Lady Vols to an 88-82 victory over No. 12/12 Texas in the Frank Erwin Center on Sunday. Sophomore Evina Westbrook posted 23 points for her third straight 20+ point performance. Cheridene Green was also in double figures for Tennessee (8-0), adding 10 points and six rebounds. Texas (7-2) was led in ... (click for more)