Man charged in Price murder

By Danza Johnson | NEMS Daily Journal

NEW ALBANY – After two weeks of investigation, New Albany police arrested a man in the shooting death of Amanda Price.
Craig Obrien Baker, 20, of New Albany, is charged with one count of capital murder, one count of aggravated assault and two counts of auto burglary. Baker is accused of killing Price and shooting her husband, New Albany football coach Ron Price, during an attempted home invasion at the couple’s home on Dec. 5.
Baker’s bond was set at $1 million Monday morning in Union County Justice Court, but was revoked by Union County Circuit Judge Andrew Howorth, who ordered Baker held without bond because it was a capital murder offense.
New Albany Police Chief David Grisham said Baker was arrested by the Union County Sheriff’s Department last week on an unrelated charge of petit larceny, but a tip alerted police that he may have been responsible for the Price shootings.
Ron Price has described the assailant as wearing dark clothes and having a covered face, but he is unable to identify Baker, Grisham said.
Police have questioned Baker, but Grisham declined to say whether he admitted to the shootings. A judge has appointed lawyers for Baker, and the case is expected to be presented to grand jurors early next year.
A search of Baker’s Bankhead Road home, less than a mile from the Prices’ home, led to evidence that Baker was involved in the crime. A search warrant was obtained after authorities say they learned he was the possible shooter. Two guns were recovered from Baker’s home, one a rifle reported stolen from a neighbor of the Prices the night of the shooting and the other a .380 caliber pistol.
A preliminary autopsy report said Amanda Price was shot once in the chest with a .380 caliber pistol. The gun recovered during the search of Baker’s home is being tested to see if it was the weapon used in the crimes.
“We believe him to be the lone shooter,” said Grisham. “There were two other men with him at the time of the auto burglaries, but we don’t think they were involved in the shooting. This was a random shooting. We don’t think the suspect was going to the home to kill anyone, just to steal items. But something went wrong and Amanda Price was killed.”
Grisham said Baker had been in the Price home the night of the robbery but said Baker didn’t know the family. One of the two shell casings found was inside the home near the back door, but Grisham would not comment on whether or not one of the victims was shot inside the home.
“I believe he went in to steal thinking no one was home and Amanda Price scared him and he shot her,” said Grisham.
New Albany Mayor Tim Kent said after the news of the arrest, Ron Price and his family are finally able to grieve.
“This has been a very difficult and emotional time for them,” said Kent. “So they want to let everyone know they appreciate all the concern but they want people to respect their privacy.”
Since a tip did lead to Baker’s arrest, Grisham said the $25,000 reward may be paid out.
Because it is a capital crime, Baker will face the death penalty.
Also, on Friday, Grisham had said police believed two other men arrested on unrelated burglary charges were involved in the Price slaying. He said Monday that they are no longer under suspicion for the shooting, although one is expected to be charged with auto burglary.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.