Baker Says She Was "Saving" Baby Shannon

By: Vanessa Nguyen
By: Vanessa Nguyen

Both the state and defense rested their cases in the trial of a Florida woman accused of kidnapping her niece in November of last year. The defendant, Susan Baker, took the stand last and was cross-examined by the state for more than two hours.

Susan Baker didn't decide to testify until 2:00 Thursday afternoon. She told defense attorney Rachel Seaton-Virga her intention last Halloween day, was to save baby Shannon Dedrick from her parents, Crystina Mercer and Rusty Dedrick.

"My opinion, he was using her because he hadn't had a job in 6, 8, 10 years," Baker said.

"And what was he using her for because she wasn't working either, was she?" Virga asked.

"For her check and the food stamps they were getting and the WIC that they were getting on the baby," Baker said.

Baker testified Rusty Dedrick would even take the baby's food for himself. She told jurors how she was concerned for the baby's health, given their deplorable living conditions.

"(A) rash up underneath her neck,” Baker said. “She had bug parts in her diaper and she had little crusty things where it looked like she hadn't had a bath in a while."

Baker insists she had to intervene after Mercer told her she was thinking about killing baby Shannon so she could get pregnant again.

"That one of these times that she gives her a bath and just hold her head underneath the water,” Baker said. “She told me she was going to do it, and I believed she was going to do it."

Baker claims she contacted the Department of Child and Family Services in Bonifay, but nothing happened. So she said sent a letter for Governor Charlie Crist.

"Everything lead right back to them giving Shannon back to Tina and Rusty," she said.

For that reason, Baker claims she refused to tell authorities where baby Shannon was located.

"I didn't want her found yet,” she said. “I wanted the governor to tell me or someone from law enforcement to tell me, 'Ms. Baker, I swear to goodness I'm not going to give her back that baby."

Trial resumes tomorrow at 8:00 a.m. for closing arguments.


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