Capital Murder Trial Day 2: Medical Examiner says this was deliberate act, not a 'freak accident'

ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) - Testimony is underway during Day Two of the Capital Murder trial of an Abilene mother accused of killing a newborn just moments after birth in January of 2016. 

Click here for a recap of testimony heard during Day One of the trial. 

Interview with police: "I flushed it, I was so scared"

Day Two of Amber Craker's Capital Murder trial picked up where Day One left off - in the middle of a three-hour-long interview between Craker and police following Craker's trip to Hendrick Medical Center the day her baby was killed. 

During the interview, Craker initially denied having a baby multiple times, but later changed her story and told detectives she had the baby while alone in her room with a wash cloth in her mouth so no one would hear her screams. 

Craker also initially stated she didn't know she was pregnant until she began giving birth and said her parents were not aware of the pregnancy but later changed her story and said they knew.  

2.5 hours into the 3-hour-long interview, Craker finally admitted to having the baby and flushing it. 

Craker  told detectives the baby was blue when she was born and that she "tried to breathe but didn't move" so Craker used her finger to try and clear the baby's mouth, but according to what Craker said in the interview, "it was pretty much dead". She says it was then she used a knife to cut the umbilical cord, and that's what left blood throughout the home. 

Craker said she had planned on burying the baby in the yard but got scared and flushed it, though the baby's body was eventually found in a trash can hours after Craker was hospitalized. 

Craker also said that she acted alone during the birth, but afterward, her father cleaned the blood from the tub, her mother helped her with a pad after noticing she was bleeding, and her boyfriend and co-defendant, Damian Cate, flipped over her mattress to hide a blood stain. 

2nd interview with police: Defendant defends boyfriend, though he claims he took part

During a 2nd interview following Cate's questioning, detectives told Craker this information conflicted with what Cate had confessed, saying he was there when the baby was born and that he held the baby for at least 20 minutes after birth. Craker says Cate was lying when he made these statements because he, like Craker, has a learning disability. 

Detectives also stated Cate confessed to knowing the sex of the baby before it was born, and Craker said this was a lie as well, but she also told detectives she had planned to name the baby Nevaeh. 

When asked what should happen to her, Craker did admit she should be punished and said "If I could go back, I would change everything."

3rd interview with police: "I don't want to live with what I've done"

Police began interviewing Craker a 3rd time after discovering the baby's body in a trashcan, not in the home's sewage system, like Craker adamantly suggested. 

During this interview, Craker told police that she put the baby in a trash can because she wanted to bury it the next day but wanted to hide it from her parents because she was scared what they would think. 

Throughout the interview, Craker insisted the baby's death was a "freak accident" and that she "did not mean to kill my child" but she did eventually admit to cutting the baby's throat in the bathroom, though she did say she didn't mean to stab her child. 

She then admitted to police that she knew she was pregnant for 9 months and that she wanted "to keep her in a way but. . .was scared to tell my parents". 

Craker also admitted to knowing what she did was murder and said "I thought she was dead so I did what I did."

The rest of the interview consisted of Craker making statements like "It's all my fault" , "I am so sorry, I'm such a bad mother. I don't care if I live or not.", and "I don't want to live with what I've done."

During all 3 interviews with police, Craker remained adamant that her parents and Cate had nothing to do with the birth and she wanted to be the one to tell them what happened. 

The Abilene police detective involved in the taped interviews was called to the stand after they were played out in court, and he testified that Craker's demeanor and speech definitely changed when she learned police had found the baby. 

Craker's defense team is trying to discredit the interviews, arguing that Craker was on morphine, so she wasn't fully awake and aware of the questions detectives were asking. 

The defense team also say detectives were lying and making things up to get Craker's confession. 

Medical Examiner: This was a deliberate act, not a "freak accident"

Following the taped interviews between Craker and police, a medical examiner took the stand during Day 2 of the Capital Murder trial and testified to the condition the baby was in when an autopsy was conducted.

 This examiner says that Craker was 39 to 40 weeks pregnant when she gave birth to a 6.85 pound baby. 

Pictures of the baby were then shown to the court again, eliciting tears from Craker and several jurors who had to turn away at the gruesome sight. 

There was a severe gaping wound on the baby's neck and at least 3 stab wounds with exit wounds on her body, as well as other injuries to her ear and arm, according to the medical examiner, who said the wounds were caused by a serrated blade, like the knife found in Craker's home. 

The examiner also said that the baby's carotid artery, juggler vein, and trachea were completely cut in half, and because of the severity of the injuries, the examiner believes the baby's death was deliberate and not a "freak accident". 

During her testimony, the examiner said that there was air in the baby's chest but both lungs were collapsed. There was also a little air in her large intestine, suggesting the baby could have cried as she was born, through the examiner was unable to definitively say if the baby was born alive or not. The examiner also stated the baby showed no signs of still birth. 

BigCountryHomepage has a crew in court providing updates on Craker's trial as it continues throughout the week Check back for the latest information.

Craker and Cate were arrested in the days following the baby's death. They are both charged with Capital Murder, Injury to a Child, and Tampering with Physical Evidence.

Cate is set to stand trial on October 9, 2017.

Courtroom sketches below provided by Manny De Los Santos 

 


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