Zahra Baker's stepmom sentenced to ten years on drug charges
HICKORY, NC (WBTV) -
The stepmother of Zahra Baker has been sentenced to ten years in prison for conspiracy with intent to distribute prescription drugs.
44-year-old Elisa Annette Baker was sentenced Monday in U.S. District Court. She was ordered to serve 120 months in prison, followed by three years under court supervision once her prison term is complete. Federal sentences are served without the possibility of parole.
U.S. Attorneys argued Baker has "a capacity to commit extraordinarily evil things."
Monday's sentence will begin at the end of Baker's current state sentence for the death of her stepdaughter.
District Attorney Jay Gaither said it means Baker will likely not be eligible for release until she is 70 years old.
He said he was satisfied with the sentence but "Nothing can bring back Zahra and nothing can really bring what the community, myself, and everyone involved in this would feel that justice demands."
According to filed documents and court proceedings, from 2006 to October 2010, Baker conspired with others to distribute and possess with intent to distribute the controlled substances oxycodone, hydrocodone and alprazolam.
Baker also maintained residences in Granite Falls, Hudson and Hickory, N.C. for the purpose of distributing the prescription drugs.
According to plea documents and Monday's sentencing hearing, Baker possessed approximately 12,000 dosage units of oxycodone, 10,000 dosage units of hydrocodone, and 29,000 dosage units of alprazolam.
Filed documents indicate that Baker distributed prescription drugs to one of the co-conspirators, a relative, and several of his high school friends, when he was 16 years old.
According to court documents, Baker obtained the prescription drugs through multiple prescriptions from physicians and from other unidentified sources in Catawba County.
In January 2012, Baker pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance.
Baker is currently serving an 18.5 year state sentence for second degree murder in the death of her step-daughter Zahra Baker.
Baker led investigators to the scenes in Caldwell County where Zahra's dismembered remains were found.
"We are glad to have some closure and see this come to an end," said Hickory Police Captain Thuman Whisnant, who headed up the investigation in the death of Zahra Baker.
Elisa claimed Zahra's father Adam was involved in the dismemberment, but investigators said all evidence pointed to Elisa acting alone.
In Australia, where Zahra Baker was born and where her father and family live, reaction to Monday's sentence was swift.
Zahra's Grandmother Karen watched the latest news via the live stream on WBTV.com. She emailed us her reaction, "I have never been happy with her sentences…I would like to know how someone who has done all this has never had to answer to all the charges they brought against her."
"This is not justice for anything."
Elisa was taken to the Caldwell County Jail Monday night. She is expected to enter the North Carolina Department of Corrections Prison system within the next week.