Possible plea deal in Zahra Baker slaying

Sept. 13, 2011 at 8:31 AM

NEWTON, N.C., Sept. 13 (UPI) -- A plea deal may be in the works in connection with the 2010 slaying of a 10-year-old North Carolina girl who lost a leg to cancer, a defense attorney said.

Scott Reilly told the Charlotte Observer Monday he is discussing the resolution of second-degree murder charges against the stepmother of Zahra Baker.

Elisa Baker was arrested after leading authorities to the location where some of Zahra's dismembered remains were found. An autopsy concluded the missing child died from "undetermined homicidal violence."

In addition to second-degree murder, Baker was also accused of desecrating Zahra's body to hinder detection.

Reilly said he was having "productive discussions" with District Attorney Jay Gaither in hopes of resolving the case.

Elisa Baker returned to Catawba County court Monday for a hearing on a change of venue request.

Superior Court Judge Timothy Kincaid postponed that discussion until Wednesday to allow both sides to continue their plea deal negotiations.

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