Jurors Deliver Guilty Verdict on Accused Baby-Napper

By: Vanessa Nguyen
By: Vanessa Nguyen

It took less than two hours for a jury to decide the fate of a woman accused of kidnapping her niece.

Susan Baker contended she was trying to save baby Shannon Dedrick, while prosecutors say there is no excuse for her actions.

“Verdict: we the jury find the defendant, Susan Elizabeth Baker, as to count one in this case, guilty as charged for aggravated child abuse."

Defendant Susan Baker sat quietly in her chair as she heard Friday's verdict: guilty as charged on the three counts of aggravated child abuse, interference with custody and giving false information to law enforcement.

During closing arguments, the state argued there was no justification, excuse or reason for putting 7-month-old Shannon Dedrick inside the 2-by-3-foot wooden box.

"For 10-12 hours, baby Shannon was in that box, with a dirty diaper, no way to change it, no food, no bottle, just baking soda to mask the smell,” the state said. “There weren't even any holes in that wooden chest to provide ventilation or air."

Baker shook her head in disagreement as he told jurors how she deceived everyone throughout the investigation.

The defense argued Baker did what she believed was 'reasonably necessary' because the Department of Children and Family Services didn't do its job.

"D.C.F. without a doubt failed baby Shannon," the defense said.

Jurors deliberated for less than two hours before reaching the guilty verdict.

“We're satisfied that we put our very best case forward to the jury and they considered all the evidence, they deliberated appropriately and they rendered what we feel is a just verdict," said Assistant State Attorney Greg Wilson.

But defense attorney Gerard Virga is already preparing for an appeal.

"I think the defense presented a good case for Ms. Baker,” he said. “I think we have plenty of issues left for appeal, and I think that's where the case could be headed at this point. She's looking forward to her day in the appeals court."

The court still has to decide whether Baker will await sentencing in the Washington County or the Bay County Jail.

Baker's sentencing is scheduled for November 8. She faces up to 35 years in prison.

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