ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Testimony is underway during Day One of the Capital Murder trial of an Abilene mother accused of killing a newborn just moments after birth in January of 2016.
Opening Statements: Craker denied having baby until after-birth was found
Amber Craker, 20, arrived at Hendrick Medical Center the day of the baby’s death bleeding out and needing surgery, according to opening statements from the prosecution.
These statements claim that when the doctor who saw her asked where her baby was, she kept saying, “I’m not here for a baby, I’m here for bleeding”, and she actively denied having a baby even though physical evidence suggested she had just given birth.
She told police, when first questioned, that she cut herself shaving “down there” and that’s why she was bleeding, but she then changed her story and said she had a blood clot, which she had flushed, the opening statements reveal.
When police first arrived at her home, they noticed the sewer line was clogged, so they hired a plumbing company, which discovered after-birth clogging the line, but no baby.
The opening statements also claim that it was then, after the tissue was found, that Craker finally admitted she had given birth.
Evidence from the trash can inside the home was bagged and taken back to a police staging station at the scene, and once it was dumped out for examination, the opening statements claim police found the baby and noticed her throat had been cut and her body had been stabbed at least three times.
There was also no evidence to suggest the baby would have died inside Amber’s womb or just after birth, according to the opening statements.
Craker’s defense team argues that there are pieces missing from what happened.
Police interview: Craker says baby’s throat slit when she tried to cut cord
Following opening statements, an audio recording between Craker and detectives was played in court, and in this recording, Craker says “everyone is calling me a liar” and says she was passing in an out of consciousness during the birth.
Craker then told police that what happened was “an accident” and that she “tried to cut the umbilical cord and slipped.”
The prosecution argues DNA evidence will show DNA on the knife used to cut the baby’s throat was from the baby and Craker, and no male DNA was present.
Doctor testimony: It was obvious Craker had given birth, though she denied it
The doctor who treated Craker after she arrived at Hendrick Medical Center took the stand during her trial and said it was obvious she had just had a baby, though Craker adamantly denied it.
When the defense cross-examined the doctor, the doctor admitted the morphine administered to Craker could have made her not answer the questions logically.
The doctor also mentioned that Craker was driven to the ER by her parents 2-to-3 hours after the baby was born, but no one mentioned her having a baby.
Forensic examiner: There was blood in places where it shouldn’t be
A Forensic Examiner with the Abilene Police Department also took the stand during Day One of the trial to testify about the evidence seized from Craker’s home.
He says a pair of pliers, a bloody knife, bloody scissors, and the trash can, which was very heavy, were all booked into evidence after they were found inside the home.
He also showed pictures of the crime scene to the court, which showed blood all throughout the house, in the bedroom, bathroom, laundry room, and more. There was also a substantial amount of blood on the floor of Craker’s room.
A picture of the baby was also shown, and Craker began crying in court when she saw the obvious injuries.
Following the examiner’s testimony, another member of the Abilene Police Department testified and said that Craker’s fiance and co-defendant, Damain Cate, had referred to the baby as a “mother f*****”.
Interview following hospital visit: Defendant says blood is from self-inflicted cut
At the end of Day One of Craker’s Capital Murder trial, the court was shown a 3-hour-long interview between Craker and an APD detective after Craker had surgery in the hospital. The purpose of this interview was to help police find the baby they and medical officials were so certain she had.
During this interview, Craker said multiple times that the blood found throughout the house was from a cut she afflicted on herself in an attempt at self-mutilation.
She stands by the story she gave to the doctor, saying she had a blood clot while she was shaving and denies ever seeing the baby or even knowing it existed.
The maximum penalty Craker, is facing is life in prison without parole. She is being tried on the following charges: Capital Murder, Injury to a Child, and Tampering with Physical Evidence – Human Corpse.
KTAB and KRBC will have a crew in court to provide the latest updates as Craker’s trial continues throughout the week.
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.