Police testify in trial of Boone Co. man accused of child murder

3 years 1 month 1 day ago Wednesday, September 16 2015 Sep 16, 2015 Wednesday, September 16, 2015 4:42:00 PM CDT September 16, 2015 in News
By: Annie Rice, KOMU 8 Digital Producer and Nick Komisar, KOMU 8 Reporter
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COLUMBIA - Prosecutors began calling witnesses Wednesday during day two of the trial of Cody Baker. Baker, 33, is charged with second-degree murder. He and his girlfriend, Anna Steele are accused in connection with the death of Steele's 8-month-old child in Steele's Columbia home in 2014.

A witness from Tiger Pediatrics was the first witness Wednesday followed by Columbia Police Officers Joel Mueller and Lane Nelson and a crime lab expert from the Missouri State Highway Patrol. Columbia Police Department detective Alan Mitchell testified about the interrogation video of Baker.

Mueller and Nelson testified and confirmed evidence such as photos of the crime scene and bloody clothing found on the scene. The lab worker confirmed the substances found on the clothing were blood and DNA. They could not say whose DNA was found on the bloody clothes. Mueller was the first officer to arrive on scene on Woodridge Drive on February 28, 2014.

Mitchell tesitified that Steele was never impatient or agitated during the interview process. He said Baker was polite and patient during the first interview, but grew more and more agitated during the second interview. 

The prosecution then called Mary Case to the stand as an expert witness. Case is the St. Louis County chief medical examiner. She said that abusive head trauma in a young child usually means it was inflicted by someone else, and that it usually happens behind closed doors. 

According to court documents, 24-year-old Anna Steele reported that her 8-month-old daughter Finely Steele was not breathing and called 911. 

Steele's charges related to her child's death. Those charges were downgraded to child abuse or neglect and endangering the welfare of a child. 

Anna told police two weeks before the incident Finely had a bruise on her face that Baker claimed happened when the child fell in the crib. Anna told police that the infant was in danger but did not want to confront Baker. Baker's trial started on Tuesday

Prosecution stated on Tuesday Baker suffered from insomnia, needed sleep and was disgruntled that Finely wake him. 

The defense team said on Tuesday their plan is to find holes in the prosecution's story line. 

The prosecution team said Anna was asleep during the night when Finely died. The defense team said they have texts exchanged between Anna and her mother during the time when Anna said she was asleep. 

Judge Jodie Asel is presiding over the trial in Boone County court. 

[Editor's note: This story has been updated to include the most recent information.]

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