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Zahra's stepmom gets up to 18 years in girl's murder

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By MITCH WEISS
Associated Press.

NEWTON, NC (AP) -- A North Carolina woman has been sentenced to up to 18 years in prison for the murder of her disabled 10-year-old stepdaughter.

Elisa Baker pleaded guilty Thursday to second degree murder, nearly a year after the Australian girl was reported missing from her home in the western North Carolina town of Hickory.

After hours of sometimes emotional witness testimony following her plea, Baker was sentenced to between roughly 15 and 18 years.

Parts of Zahra Baker's remains were found in multiple sites around Hickory shortly after her reported disappearance. The case captivated the attention of communities here and in Australia. Her father moved to the United States to marry Elisa after the two met online.

Zahra had a prosthetic leg and hearing aids after a battle with bone cancer.

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

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