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DA faces tall order in NC girl's murder case

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By TOM BREEN and MITCH WEISS
Associated Press

RALEIGH, NC (AP) -- The stepmother of Zahra Baker has been charged with murder in the little girl's death, but securing a conviction won't be easy.

Elisa Baker was indicted this week on a charge of second-degree murder in the death of the disabled girl from Australia.

Important pieces of evidence are missing in the case, most notably the 10-year-old girl's skull. Medical examiners didn't have enough of her remains to determine an exact cause of death.

Nationally known criminal defense lawyer Richard Jaffe says that creates a significant hurdle for prosecutors and provides more opportunities to create reasonable doubt as to a defendant's guilty.

Jaffe is not involved in the Baker case. Calls to Elisa Baker's lawyer were not immediately returned Friday. Elisa Baker remains in jail. Her bail was set at $300,000.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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