REMINDER: Death penalty off the table during Capital Murder trial of accused newborn killer

ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) - Prosecutors re-confirmed they will not be seeking the death penalty during the Capital Murder trial of an Abilene mother accused of killing a newborn just moments after birth in January of 2016.

The maximum penalty Amber Craker, 20, is facing is life in prison without parole. She will be tried on the following charges beginning on October 2nd: Capital Murder, Injury to a Child, and Tampering with Physical Evidence - Human Corpse. 

Jury selection for Craker's trial began Monday with a pool of 200 potential jurors, and as of 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, that pool had been narrowed to 90.

Craker attended Monday's portion of the selection process and began to cry as the District Attorney read the cause of death for the baby she's accused of killing. 

Craker's alleged co-conspirator, Damian Cate, 23, is facing the same charges, but no trial date has been set for his case.

State prosecutors filed motions in July to not seek the death penalty against either Craker or Cate. 

Craker and Cate were arrested within one day after the body of a newborn baby was found in a trash can inside a home on the 400 block of S. 25th Street on January 18, 2016. An autopsy report reveals she was killed by "multiple sharp force injuries".

Additional documents say, "Damian Cate confessed to Abilene Police Officers. . . that he held the baby while Amber Craker cut the baby's throat. Cate then assisted in putting the baby in the trash can and cleaning up lots of blood."

An arrest report reveals the Craker admitted to police that she caused 'obvious injury' to the baby before placing it in the trash can, and Cate's arrest report says he told police he held the baby while Craker caused the 'obvious injury'.

The newborn, named Baby Ashley by Abilene Police Officers who donated her headstone and funeral, was laid to rest days after her death in a cemetery near North 10th and Cottonwood Street during a private ceremony Wednesday afternoon.

Craker spent some time at a psychiatric facility after she was deemed incompetent to stand trial, but she has since been transferred back to the Taylor County Jail where she is awaiting her day in court while in jail on bonds totaling $300,000.

Cate bonded out of jail in May after a judge reduced his bond from $400,000 to $100,000.

 


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