published Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

Trial begins for woman charged with shooting man and dumping his body in the river

Jury selection and opening arguments are expected today in the murder trial of Susan Lynette Baker, charged in the February 2011 slaying of 55-year-old Clifford Carden in Sequatchie County.

Baker, 35 when she was arrested in 2011, is charged with felony murder, especially aggravated robbery and setting fire to personal property in Carden's death. She is accused of firing the fatal shot that killed Carden before she and codefendent Thomas Bryan Bettis dumped Carden's body in the Sequatchie River and burned his car then went on a spending spree with money prosecutors say they took from Carden.

Bettis faces the same charges as Baker. Bettis' case was separated from Baker's and she goes on trial first. Officials say the trial in Sequatchie County Circuit Court could last three days.

Contact staff writer Ben Benton at or 423-757-6569.

about Ben Benton...

Ben Benton is a news reporter at the Chattanooga Times Free Press. He covers Southeast Tennessee and previously covered North Georgia education. Ben has worked at the Times Free Press since November 2005, first covering Bledsoe and Sequatchie counties and later adding Marion, Grundy and other counties in the northern and western edges of the region to his coverage. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Tenn., a graduate of Bradley Central High School. Benton ...

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