MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - A jury has found Memphis mother Shakara Dickens guilty of murdering her baby daughter, even though a body was never found.
The jury deliberated for about five hours before finding Dickens guilty of Second Degree Murder for the death of 9-month-old Lauryn.
Dickens told police she gave 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. Police found the story was not true and arrested Dickens.
Police say Dickens could not provide any further explanation about her daughter's location or well-being.
In closing arguments the State reminded the jury of the inconsistent text messages, her desire for a new tattoo and her night at the club, all while Lauryn was missing.
"Not worries about a baby, not signing adoption papers, not camping out at the grandparents in Collierville. This is what she was doing, she was partying," noted Assistant DA Jennifer Nichols.
Nichols also reminded jurors of Dickens' jailhouse confession and poem she wrote titled, “A Person and a Secret.”
But it was the flaws in Dickens' stories she focused on, that Dickens handed Lauryn to an unknown white woman in her car seat, the same seat detectives found hidden in her apartment.
"Lauryn’s body is missing and you have a missing suitcase, you have a missing suitcase that was in an Altima that the defendant drove all weekend."
Defense lawyer Art Horne said the State had no proof that Lauryn is dead, so Dickens could not be convicted of murder.
"Shakara Dickens is draped in the cloth of innocence; she is as innocent today just as she stood innocent on Monday," Horne stated.
The defense focused on the search dog that identified the scent of human remains in the trunk of Dickens' car where the missing suitcase had been. They said that’s not enough.
The jury disagreed, but convicted Dickens on a lesser charge. Second Degree Murder carries a sentence of 15-20 years in prison.