Zahra Baker's stepmother ill in court

April 5, 2011 at 7:52 PM
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CHARLOTTE, N.C., April 5 (UPI) -- Elisa Baker, accused of murder in the death of stepdaughter Zahra Baker, almost fainted in a North Carolina courtroom during a hearing to schedule a trial date.

It was unclear what the problem was at the Monday hearing, but Baker told her attorney she felt better after sitting down, The Charlotte (N.C.) Observer reported.

She was at the hearing as prosecutors asked for a May date for a trial on charges she obstructed justice by writing a phony ransom note to confuse the search for Zahra, the newspaper said.

Superior Court Judge Eric Levinson denied the Catawba County prosecutor's attempt to set her obstruction trial for May, delaying a hearing on both the obstruction charge and the second-degree murder charge until June 27.

Baker, 42, is charged in the death of 10-year-old Zahra, whose body was found dismembered in Caldwell County.

Baker's attorney accused prosecutors of "parading" his client for the media and said he would file for a change of venue.

"I don't know of a county in North Carolina where you can find 10 people who have not heard of the case and haven't formed an opinion of her guilt or innocence," Scott Reilly told the Observer after the hearing.

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