Memphis mom painted as child's killer

March 21, 2012 at 12:18 PM
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MEMPHIS, March 21 (UPI) -- A Memphis prosecutor told a jury a mother's behavior after her baby daughter disappeared points to her being the child's killer.

Shakara Dickens seemed more concerned with partying and getting new tattoo work as police searched for her 9-month-old daughter, Lauryn, prosecutor Jennifer Nichols said in opening statements Tuesday.

"You are going to have to use your common sense," Nichols said. "At the end of this trial, we're going to ask you to find Shakara Dickens guilty of killing her daughter."

The (Memphis) Commercial Appeal said Nichols has a largely circumstantial case built on a seemingly flimsy alibi and Dickens' willingness to go out to nightclubs in the days after Lauryn was reported missing in September 2010.

Dickens also had a tattoo of Lauryn's father's name altered.

Dickens told police she had turned Lauren over to a woman who was supposedly sent by the girl's father. However, Nichols said the dad, Benjamin Norfleet, was in jail at the time and had no way to contact Dickens.

Dickens' attorney countered that while his client's behavior seemed inappropriate, there was no evidence she had harmed Lauryn or that the still-missing child was dead.

"This case is not about being a bad mother," lawyer Murray Wells said.

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