Abilene woman accused of killing baby ruled incompetent for trial


ABILENE, Texas - An Abilene woman accused of killing her newborn baby girl has been ruled incompetent to stand trial.

Earlier this month, Judge Thomas Wheeler of the 350th District Court ordered that 18-year-old Amber Rene Craker be committed to the North Texas State Hospital, a state mental health facility, for no longer than 120 days.

In the order, Wheeler asked Taylor County Sheriff Ricky Bishop to deliver Craker to the facility in Vernon.

That hasn't happened yet.

Sgt. John Cummins, a Taylor County Sheriff's Office spokesman, said Craker remains in jail, pending transfer.

"There's always a ‘waiting list' at the state hospitals," Cummins said Thursday in an email. "The judge issues the order, and then we fax the paperwork to the hospital. The person is put on the list, and weeks or months later, they notify us that we can make the transfer. We never know more than a week ahead of time that the person will be going."

A psychiatric evaluation to determine competency to stand trial was done – at Craker's attorney's request – Feb. 26 at the Taylor County Jail. It was conducted by a psychiatrist from San Angelo.

Put simply, after spending up to 120 days at the mental health facility, a hearing will be held. The judge will hear from the mental health facility regarding findings into whether the patient has regained competency. If, after the hearing, the court finds the patient has regained competency, then the judicial proceedings can resume. If the patient doesn't regain competency within the 120-day period, there could a hearing to determine whether further commitment should be ordered.

Craker and her boyfriend, Damian Cate, are accused of murdering their newborn on Jan. 18 in their south Abilene home.

Craker admitted to police in January that she injured her newborn and that she cleaned up after the death. Meanwhile, Cate's attorney said his client is mentally disabled.

An autopsy determined the couple's baby had been stabbed multiple times.

Abilene police officers held a funeral for the slain newborn in February. A vigil was also held for the deceased baby.

In addition, a headstone was completed for the Craker-Cate baby in March.

Craker and Cate both remain jailed on bonds totaling $300,000.

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