Lawyers appointed when murder charges were 'imminent' stay on Zahra case

Zahra at Camp Quality. (Source: Townsville Bulletin)
Zahra at Camp Quality. (Source: Townsville Bulletin)
Adam and Elisa Baker
Adam and Elisa Baker

HICKORY, NC (WBTV) - Two attorneys – including one high-profile lawyer – who were appointed in October to the dad and stepmother of a deceased 10-year-old Hickory girl were removed by the state Wednesday. But, on Friday, they both decided to stay on the case, even if one of them was not paid.

The two lawyers, Lisa Dubs and Mark Killian, were appointed to Elisa and Adam Baker, respectively, when it seemed "a charge of first-degree murder… was imminent" against them in the death of Zahra Baker, according to the NC Capital Defender's office.

Read the warrants: Group 1 | Group 2 | Group 3 | Group 4  (NOTE: Large pdf files)

Lisa Dubs is a high-profile attorney, known for defending capital murder trials and her web site says that her specialties are "capital murder cases and serious felonies." The two attorneys were removed as both Adam and Elisa Baker have "not been arrested or indicted in connection with the death of" Zahra, the state capital defender wrote.

Elisa Baker has been charged with obstruction of justice after police say she admitted to faking a ransom note just after Zahra was reported missing on Oct. 13. She is being represented by Scott Reilly for that charge.

But, Killian told The Associated Press on Friday that he'll continue to provide Adam Baker counsel when it comes to legal issues surrounding daughter Zahra's death. Killian also has represented Baker on unrelated charges.

Killian says it doesn't matter if he is not paid. Dubs also plans to stick with Elisa Baker, the Associated Press reported..

The legal changes come just two days after warrants were released that indicate Zahra was dismembered after she died and that blood and bodily fluids could be found in the drains of the house where the family lived in Hickory. Just Thursday, police said that DNA evidence proved that Zahra's remains were found in different locations, meaning she had been dismembered.

Elisa Baker remains in jail on obstruction of justice charges. Adam Baker has been charged with some non-related crimes and has appeared in court recently.

The family of Zahra – minus Elisa Baker – were scheduled to hold a memorial service for her Thursday night, but those plans have changed.

Copyright 2010 WBTV. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.