New Albany man charged with capital murder

The New Albany Police announced Monday afternoon that they have charged a 20-year-old man in connection with the shooting death of Amanda Price.

New Albany Police Chief David Grisham said that Craig O’Brien Baker, 20, of 1100 East Bankhead, Trailer #45, has been charged with capital murder.
Baker is also charged with aggravated assault and two counts of auto burglaries.
Grisham said that Baker allegedly acted alone in killing the New Albany speech pathologist and wounding her husband, high school football coach Ron Price, in a “random act of violence.”
“We believe he acted alone,” Grisham said. “Baker went to the house because he thought no one was at home,” Grisham said.  “He was looking to steal whatever he could.  When Amanda Price came outside, she surprised him and he shot her.”
Grisham said Baker did enter the house and shot Ron Price when he responded to his wife’s screams.
He went on to say that two guns were recovered at Baker’s residence – a Browning rifle that had been reported stolen from neighbors of the Prices and a .380-caliber pistol, which is the same type of gun that was used to shoot the couple.  Grisham said the pistol had been sent to a crime lab in Jackson to determine if it is the murder weapon.
While a bond of $1,000,000 was initially set Monday morning, Grisham said that Circuit Court Judge Andrew Howorth decided to revoke the bond because of the seriousness of the charge.
Grisham said his department became aware of Baker following his arrest, along with two other men, by Union County Sheriff’s deputies.
“We received information of his possible involvement Thursday evening after he and two other men were arrested on unrelated petit larceny charges,” Grisham said.  “Because he was out on parole and was in violation of it, we were able to hold him and question him.”
Grisham said a search warrant was obtained for Baker’s dwelling and led to the discovery of the two weapons.
Grisham said that the other two men were not believed to be involved in the shooting, although one of them will likely be charged with auto burglary for allegedly aiding Baker in break-ins earlier on the night of Dec. 5.
While Grisham did not release the other men’s names, Chief Deputy Jimmy Edwards identified them as Tevin Stricklen, 21, of 1521 County Road 478 and Rico Knox, 22, of 1105 Rosewood.
Edwards went on to say that all three men also face petit larceny charges for attempting to steal scrap metal from a woman’s home on Myrtle-Poolville Road.
Grisham said did not say whether Baker has admitted to the crime, but said that lawyers had been appointed to defend him and the case would likely go to the grand jury early next year.
Baker will likely face the death penalty, because of the capital murder charge, Grisham said.
Not much is known about Baker, said New Albany Mayor Tim Kent.
“He said he attended New Albany High School for a year and then dropped out, but none of the faculty remembers him,” Kent said.  “We know that his mother brought him here from Memphis, Tenn. a few years ago.  Then she moved back to Memphis and left him here.”
Kent also said that Baker claims to have received a GED from Myrtle Attendance Center.
Grisham said that, because a tip did lead to Baker’s arrest for the capital murder charge, the $25,000 reward may be paid out to the informant, despite that person’s involvement with the subject.
As for the Price family, Kent asked that they be given the space to grieve.
“We notified them of what we’ve learned and they’re now able to begin the grieving process,” Kent said.  “This has been a very difficult and emotional time for them. So they want to let everyone know they appreciate all the concern but they want people to respect their privacy.”