State News

Appeals Court upholds decision to release warrants

Posted April 17, 2012

— An appeals court says a judge made the right decision when he unsealed search warrants in the case of a 10-year-old disabled girl from Australia whose stepmother killed her in Hickory.

A Catawba County Superior Court judge sealed search warrants with critical details of the Zahra Baker case in October, 2010. But another judge released the documents a month later after several news organizations asked to see the warrants.

The North Carolina Court of Appeals on Tuesday upheld that move, saying the prosecutor's office missed a deadline to file a motion that could have kept the documents sealed.

Zahra was killed and dismembered in 2010. Her stepmother, Elisa Baker, pleaded guilty last year to second-degree murder. Zahra's father, Adam, returned to his Australia in January with his daughter's remains.

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  • kre2 Apr 17, 2012

    The poor girl was killed. Why do you need to know the details? The only reason news organizations want to know is to see how graphic they can make it in order to sell ads. It is bad enough that there are sick people out there doing it; but, it is kind of sick that there are other people that want to witness it.

  • Inter Alios Apr 17, 2012

    Don't forget to add the 1st judge who sealed the search warrants to the list of wrongdoers here. The defense has an absolute right to challenge the issuance of the search warrant if it was issued without probable cause, and, thereafter, move to suppress any evidence found under authority of an improvidently issued search warrant.

  • dollibug Apr 17, 2012

    The prosecutor's office did not want it to be known that they missed a deadline to file the motion that could have kept the documents sealed....interesting that they wanted to cover their own doings here....I think, if someone would take the time and look into matters, that they would find out a lot that prosecutors do which SHOULD NOT be done....the people who works in the prosecutor's offices should be held accountable for what they may or may not do....

  • dwntwnboy Apr 17, 2012

    Unless there is information that needs to be kept secret until an arrest is made or case is made, then I can't see any reason to keep something like that sealed. It's public record.