Grandmother, father of murdered girl testify in trial - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Grandmother, father of murdered girl testify in trial

Shakara Dickens, photo courtesy Shelby County Jail. Shakara Dickens, photo courtesy Shelby County Jail.

(WMC-TV) – There was emotional testimony in court Wednesday in the case of a Mid-South mom on trial for murdering her own child.

Prosecutors displayed 59 pages of text messages.

They say the texts prove Shakara Dickens was not worried about her daughter while everyone else around her was.

With her mother, Tracey, on the witness stand, Shakara Dickens looked on solemnly.

Tracey testified about a series of text messages she shared with Shakara. In those texts Shakara gave different explanations for her daughter Lauryn's whereabouts before finally settling on one.

"She told me she gave the baby to a lady Ben had sent to take care of the baby until he got out," Tracey said.

"I said, ‘Why would you trust a complete stranger and give your child to a complete stranger,'" said Lt. Cindy Capps, of the Memphis Police Department's Missing Persons Bureau. "She said, ‘Because of those words she said that I came from Ben. So that meant, obviously, she knew my child's father, Benjamin Norfleet. So I felt at ease and gave her my child.'"

Norfleet was in jail at the time and investigators say he never instructed Shakara Dickens to give away the child.

"Over the course of 12 days he made 7 attempts to call her and each time her phone number was blocked," said Capps.

On cross-examination, Tracey Dickens explained that she's not happy.

She testified that she thought police were more interested in charging her daughter quickly rather than finding little Lauryn.

Shakara Dickens paid close attention when Norfleet took the stand.

"Me and Shakara had a little girl named Lauryn," said Norfleet.

Norfleet was in jail with Lauryn Dickens disappeared.  At the time, Shakara Dickens told police Norfleet sent an older woman to take the baby away.

"I'd never do that, period," said Norfleet.  "Never would do that."

Prosecutors allege Shakara Dickens killed her daughter and disposed of the body.  They relied heavily upon circumstantial evidence that includes the testimony of Ed Apple, whose search dog detected the scent of decomposed human remains both on the doorstep and near the crib during a search of Shakara Dickens' apartment.

Defense attorneys argued the dog never found human remains and cannot determine which person the scent came from.

Although serving a six-year prison term on a car break-in conviction, Norfleet said he misses his daughter.

"I loved her, man, like I never loved anybody else," he said.  "She was my heart."

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