Zahra Baker's father wants trial moved

Nov. 9, 2011 at 2:50 PM   |   Comments

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CHARLOTTE, N.C., Nov. 9 (UPI) -- Adam Baker wants his identity theft trial in North Carolina moved because the community believes he was involved in killing his daughter Zahra, his lawyer says.

Baker, facing identity theft and obtaining property by false pretenses charges unrelated to the killing of his daughter, has asked for a change of venue from Catawba County, The Charlotte Observer reported Wednesday.

Adam Baker's wife Elisa pleaded guilty in September to second-degree murder in her stepdaughter Zahra's death and was sentenced to 15 to 18 years in prison.

In a motion for a change of venue, defense attorney Mark Killian said "excessive and pervasive publicity on a local, statewide and national level" meant Adam Baker can't get a fair trial in Catawba and surrounding counties.

Accusations by Elisa Baker that Adam Baker dismembered and hid Zahra's body parts have polluted the potential jury pool, Killian said.

"Despite the lack of any credible evidence that [Baker] was involved in the disappearance and murder of his daughter, there exists in this county a widespread belief that [he] was criminally involved in his daughter's death," Killian wrote in his motion.

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