Trial Day 1: Did Abilene man hold newborn while mother killed her?

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ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Opening statements were heard Tuesday afternoon in the trial of an Abilene man accused of participating in the murder of a newborn killed just moments after birth in January of 2016. 

Defense attorneys for Damian Cate, 24, are arguing the newborn, named Baby Ashley, could have been born dead because there is no evidence that proves otherwise. They are urging jurors to look at physical evidence involved in the case when deciding if their client is guilty or not. 

The prosecution team, headed by Taylor County District Attorney James Hicks, says there is evidence that shows not only was Baby Ashley born alive, she was later killed by her mother, Amber Craker, 20, while Cate held the baby. They say Cate’s DNA was found on items that could have been used during the crime. 

Abilene police detectives were the first witnesses to testify, describing the bloody crime scene they found at the Craker home on the 400 block of S. 25th Street. 

The detective who first entered the home said he did-so with family permission, and once he got inside, he saw blood in multiple rooms, as well as a bloody knife, so he obtained a search warrant. 

A doctor who treated Craker after the birth also testified, saying he was concerned because she showed up bleeding with no baby, no placenta, or no umbilical cord. He was worried she was concealing the birth. 

KTAB and KRBC will continue to provide updates from trial as witnesses continue to testify.

Cate standing trial for Capital Murder and Tampering with Evidence Monday – 6 months after Craker was convicted and sentenced to serve life in prison without chance of parole for the same crimes. 

Craker’s trial began on a Monday and testimony lasted through Thursday morning, with witnesses such a forensic experts, police detectives, and Abilene ISD faculty giving testimony on what likely happened the day Baby Ashley Craker was killed. 

The trial revealed Baby Ashley’s throat was slit and she was stabbed at least 3 times, wounds Craker claimed were inflicted when her hand slipped while trying to cut the umbilical cord. 

Craker also claimed she was alone during the birth and used a washcloth to mute her screams, though Cate, said he was present and even held the baby for at least 20 minutes after she was born. 

Baby Ashley’s body was eventually found in a trashcan hours after Craker’s parents rushed her to the hospital to receive surgery due to the large amount of bleeding she experienced following the birth. 

BigCountryHomepage will continue to follow this case as Cate proceeds to court. Check back for the latest information. 

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