MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - A mother convicted for the murder of her 9-month-old daughter made a dramatic courtroom confession during her sentencing hearing Friday morning.
Shakara Dickens was found guilty of Second Degree Murder in March, even though a body was never found. Dickens told police she gave baby Lauryn to a woman she didn't know on Sept. 7, 2010 at the direction of the baby's father, Benjamin Norfleet, who was in jail at the time. Police discovered she was lying and arrested Dickens.
Police say Dickens could never provide any further explanation about her daughter's location or well-being, and told conflicting stories to officers, friends and family.
Dickens never testified on her own behalf at trial, but her defense lawyer, Art Horne, stated in closing arguments that the State had no proof that Lauryn was dead, so Dickens could not be convicted of First Degree Murder. "Shakara Dickens is draped in the cloth of innocence," Horne told the jurors. The jury disagreed, but convicted Dickens on a lesser charge.
At her June 22 sentencing hearing, Dickens confessed to suffocating her daughter. She said she put her hand over the baby's mouth and nose until she passed out and went limp. After Lauryn came to, Dickens suffocated her again until she died, and then wrapped her body in a towel, placed her in a bag, and threw the bag in a dumpster at her apartment complex.
Shakara Dickens, 21, was sentenced to 19 years for Aggravated Child Neglect, 19 years for Second Degree Murder and two years for False Reporting, all to be served concurrently and with no possibility of parole.