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 veryhotthread  Author  Topic: Erica Baker - Feb. 7, 1999 - OH  (Read 14957 times)
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xx Victims of Violence Remembered
« Reply #75 on: Dec 19th, 2005, 12:53pm »

It was a powerful and painful evening for some Miami Valley families Monday, as they gathered to remember loved ones who died in Montgomery County homicides.

"I was just here to grieve my daughter and to grieve with the others," said Greg Baker, the father of murdered Kettering girl Erica Baker.

Baker was among the hundreds of people braving the cold Monday night. The families hung ornaments and released balloons in memory of their relatives. The event was the 15th annual vigil organized by the Montgomery County Prosecutors Office. Channel 2 was again honored to sponsor the vigil lights for this important service.

A similar vigil took place Monday night in Troy. The Miami County Victim Witness Program held it's annual service at a church on South Market Street. The candlelight ceremony was in memory of those who died as a result of a crime.

http://www.wdtn.com/dsp_story.cfm?storyid=17410
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xx Ex-public defender agrees to testify in missing-gi
« Reply #76 on: Jan 10th, 2006, 5:03pm »

JAMES HANNAHAssociated PressT

DAYTON, Ohio - After resisting for more than three years, a former federal public defender agreed Tuesday to testify about what a former client may have told her about the 1999 disappearance of a 9-year-old girl.
Beth Lewis released a statement saying she decided to testify in the Erica Baker case after losing her appeal before a federal appeals court in Cincinnati. Courts have turned down her argument that conversations with her client, who is deceased, should be confidential.
"I now find that I must fulfill my duty as an attorney to the courts," Lewis said.
Authorities believe Erica is dead, struck by a van and her body buried. However, no murder charge has been filed in the case, Erica's body has never been found and police have stopped looking because they are out of leads.
Investigators think Lewis' former client, Jan Franks, may have been in the van that struck Erica. Lewis refused to answer questions about that when she appeared before a grand jury several years ago.
"Anything and everything we can get is what we're after," said Montgomery County Prosecutor Mathias Heck Jr. "We want every bit of information we can about what happened, where Erica is, what happened to Erica Baker."
In October, a jury found Christian Gabriel guilty of corpse abuse and evidence tampering in Erica's disappearance. Prosecutors accuse Gabriel of driving the van that hit Erica as she darted into a street between parked cars and burying the girl's body in a state park.
Pam Schmidt, Erica's grandmother, said she hopes whatever information Lewis has will somehow help the family locate Erica's remains.
"I don't know what she knows, but I know she knows something," Schmidt said. "It's a huge puzzle, and each piece fits into that puzzle. Eventually that puzzle's going to be put together, and we're going to know where Erica is."
Earlier Tuesday, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati ruled 3-0 that federal courts do not have jurisdiction in the matter and sent the case back to state court, which found Lewis in contempt for refusing to testify.
The federal court said Lewis chose to litigate her case in state court.
"Having had her day in court, Lewis seeks to profit from outrunning her first state contempt order by raising federal arguments that she failed to raise when she had the chance," the appeals court wrote.
Prosecutors want Lewis to testify before a grand jury about what Franks may have told her about the girl's disappearance before Franks died of a drug overdose in December 2001.
Prosecutors have argued in the courts that Lewis must testify because Franks' husband gave Lewis permission to do so. Ohio is one of the few states that allow a surviving spouse to give permission for an attorney to reveal privileged conversations between lawyers and clients.
Heck said that within the next 30 days prosecutors will set a date to have a grand jury hear Lewis' testimony.
"I've never understood her position all these years," Schmidt said of Lewis. "We want to bring Erica home."
http://www.ohio.com/mld/beaconjournal/news/state/13592903.htm
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xx Lawyer to share client statements
« Reply #77 on: Jan 15th, 2006, 11:48am »

By James Hannah
Associated Press


DAYTON - After resisting for more than three years, a former federal public defender agreed Tuesday to testify about what a former client may have told her about the 1999 disappearance of a 9-year-old girl.

Beth Lewis released a statement saying she decided to testify in the Erica Baker case after losing her appeal before a federal appeals court in Cincinnati. Courts have turned down her argument that conversations with her client, who is deceased, should be confidential.

"I now find that I must fulfill my duty as an attorney to the courts," Lewis said.

Authorities believe Erica is dead, struck by a van and her body buried. However, no murder charge has been filed in the case, Erica's body has never been found, and police have stopped looking because they are out of leads.

Authorities believe Lewis' former client may have been in the van that struck Erica. Lewis refused to answer questions about that theory when she appeared before a grand jury several years ago.

"Anything and everything we can get is what we're after," said Montgomery County Prosecutor Mathias Heck Jr. "We want every bit of information we can about what happened, where Erica is, what happened to Erica Baker."

In October, a jury found Christian Gabriel guilty of corpse abuse and evidence tampering in Erica's disappearance. Prosecutors accuse Gabriel of driving the van that hit Erica as she darted into a street between parked cars, then burying the girl's body in a state park.

Pam Schmidt, Erica's grandmother, said she hopes whatever information Lewis has will somehow help the family locate Erica's remains.

"I don't know what she knows, but I know she knows something," Schmidt said. "It's a huge puzzle, and each piece fits into that puzzle. Eventually that puzzle's going to be put together, and we're going to know where Erica is."

Earlier Tuesday, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati ruled 3-0 that federal courts do not have jurisdiction in the matter and sent the case back to state court, which found Lewis in contempt for refusing to testify.

The federal court said Lewis chose to litigate her case in state court.

"Having had her day in court, Lewis seeks to profit from outrunning her first state contempt order by raising federal arguments that she failed to raise when she had the chance," the appeals court wrote.

http://news.cincypost.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060111/NEWS01/601110348
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xx Beth Lewis Gives Grand Jury Testimony in Erica Bak
« Reply #78 on: Jan 25th, 2006, 07:31am »

Beth Lewis testified in front of a grand jury on Tuesday. Only prosecutors and members of the grand jury know what Lewis said. But, Erica's loved ones hope the information will lead them to the little girl's remains, so they can give her a proper burial.

Erica's father, Greg Baker says his family has been in agony ever since his 9-year-old daughter, Erica went missing back in 1999. He said, "In the beginning, not knowing anything that was torture. But, knowing now that she has passed on and the way she passed on it's even worse."

Now, the family's heart ache may finally be coming to an end. After more than three years of legal disputes, Beth Lewis told a grand jury what she knows about the case.

Several years ago, Lewis was a federal public defender, representing Jan Franks. Franks was thought to be involved in the young girl's disappearance. Prosecutors believe Franks, told Lewis what happened shortly before she died. However, until now, Lewis has refused to talk..

If Lewis has any useful information, prosecutors say they'll move forward in their search for Erica's remains. It's possible that Beth Lewis could be called to testify again before a grand jury.

http://www.wdtn.com/dsp_story.cfm?storyid=22485
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xx Evidence lacking in Erica Baker case, attorney say
« Reply #79 on: Jan 19th, 2007, 06:57am »

By Lou Grieco

Staff Writer


DAYTON ó A Springfield man convicted in the disappearance of Erica Baker was denied a fair trial because the only evidence against him was his own statements, his attorney argued Tuesday.

Christian Gabriel, 35, was convicted of tampering with evidence and gross abuse of a corpse following an October 2005 trial.

Arguing before a three-judge panel of the Ohio 2nd District Court of Appeals, attorney Mark Fisher said that no physical evidence tied Gabriel to Erica's disappearance. He also argued that the prosecution couldn't show that either of the crimes Gabriel was convicted of actually occurred because Erica's body has never been found.

"We have to have a body to abuse," Fisher said.

Carley Ingram, chief of the Montgomery County Prosecutor's appellate division, said the disappearance of a 9-year-old girl was obviously the result of a crime, and that Gabriel's statements showed what the specific crimes were.

"Erica's absence tells that a crime was committed," Ingram said. "She had no plan to go, no resources."

The judges issued no rulings on Tuesday.

Erica, 9, was last seen walking her dog near Indian Riffle School in Kettering on Feb. 7, 1999.

http://www.daytondailynews.com/n/content/oh/story/news/local/2007/01/10/ddn011007gabriel.html
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xx Wednesday Marks 8-Years Since Baker Disappearance
« Reply #80 on: Feb 7th, 2007, 5:38pm »

KETTERING, Ohio -- Wednesday marks the eighth anniversary of the disappearance of 9-year-old Erica Baker.

Baker was last seen near the Kettering Recreation Center walking the family dog on Feb. 7, 1999. The girl whose picture made national headlines has never been seen since.

Since her disappearance, there has only been one conviction in the case. Christian Gabriel was convicted two years ago of gross abuse of a corpse and tampering with evidence.

Gabriel is currently serving a 6-year sentence.

Although several different stories have surfaced about Bakerís disappearance, prosecutors believe it was Gabriel who was in a van that struck and killed the girl and then later buried her body.

Bakerís body has never been found. A woman who police said was also in the van at the time died before she could tell authorities about the case.

The womanís husband gave her attorney permission to talk about the case, but attorney Beth Lewis refused to talk for years and was even jailed on contempt charges.

Lewis has since testified giving no new information about the case.

Last month, Gabrielís attorney argued that the case should be overturned because he said his clientís confession was coerced and that there was no new physical evidence in the case.

The attorney also said his clientís trial should have been moved because of publicity.

http://www.whiotv.com/news/10953933/detail.html
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