By Danza Johnson | NEMS Daily Journal
NEW ALBANY – Many folks around New Albany and Union County are relieved that police believe they have in custody the man who killed Amanda Price and wounded her husband, Ron, at their home on the night of Dec. 5.
Police Chief David Grisham announced Monday afternoon that Craig Obrien Baker, 20, of Rest Haven Trailer Park, No. 45, had been charged with capital murder, aggravated assault and two related counts of vehicle burglary. Mayor Tim Kent said the news means Price’s husband and her parents, if given some privacy for a while, can “start their grief process now.”
Blue Springs resident Jan Musgrove, who works in New Albany, came to hear the announcement.
“We were all fearful that there was some killer out there trying to kill people,” she said afterward. “I was freaked out to go outside and turn on my Christmas lights. It’s a great relief to have somebody in custody. Everybody has wanted certainly for there to be a resolution. I think everybody has prayed, and God has intervened. I’m so thankful.”
Kent said there’s been a collective sigh of relief.
“It seems like it’s relaxed people. I know some people had started putting guns on or leaving guns out at their house,” he said. “I had one tell me, ‘Well, I put my gun up after y’all caught him.’”
Lewis Rosenthal of New Albany said he’d reinforced his doors.
“We’re a town of about 8,500 or so, and things like this just don’t happen here,” he said. “For the first time, I guess, in my 72 years of living, I’ve kind of felt a little bit uneasy about living here.
“At the same time, our police did a good job on handling this. Considering what they went through, they did an outstanding job, an excellent job,” he said. “I’m just thankful that they got the evidence they needed and found the guy that did it.”
Rosenthal said he believes God intervened in the investigation.
“I pray for the guy that did this, but then again, he had a record and they say he’d had a chance to straighten his life up, and he didn’t do it,” he said. “That’s as far as I can speak to him.”
Alicia Buchannan is one of the people with whom Baker, who was released from prison earlier this year, shared a rented mobile home at Rest Haven.
“Basically, he was just a friend of my boy,” she said.
She said, as far as she knows, selling scrap iron was Baker’s only source of income.
“Nothing, you know, to go clocking in,” she said.
Jeremiah Massey, whose mobile home is across the street from Baker’s, called Baker “quiet” and not known for “doing stupid stuff.”
Massey seemed to struggle for mitigating circumstances to explain the killing.
“It was just a random act of robbery, and he seen somebody – you know what I’m saying?” he said. “He might have thought it was a deer or something.”
Massey argued that the fact Baker apparently didn’t know the Prices should count for something in Baker’s defense.
“I mean, you can’t just say he tried to kill that woman,” Massey said. “It was just a random act of robbery; he just pulled a gun and then shot. I mean, it was a tragedy, an accident.”