NC woman who pleaded guilty claims she's innocent

October 25, 2011 - 1:30 PM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The North Carolina woman who pleaded guilty last month to killing her 10-year-old disabled stepdaughter now insists in a jail interview that she's innocent.

The Charlotte Observer reports Sunday (http://bit.ly/qKE8ks ) that 43-year-old Elisa Baker of Hickory portrayed herself as a loving stepmother who was only following her lawyer's advice in pleading guilty.

Baker was sentenced to 15 to 18 years in prison for second-degree murder, nearly a year after she initially claimed her stepdaughter, Zahra, had been kidnapped.

Authorities say Baker told them Zahra was dismembered and led them to some of her scattered remains, though her skull was not found.

Her lawyer, Scott Reilly, says he advised her to take the deal because the evidence against her was so strong a jury would likely find her guilty in five minutes.