Mental state is key to couple's defense

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An Augusta couple facing charges of murder in the death of a severely disabled relative will present a defense of insanity or mental incompetence.

A hearing on the issue of mental examinations scheduled for Wednesday was canceled.

A notice of the defense was filed for Jeanne Peterson and Buel "Chuck" Peterson last month. The Petersons are scheduled to go on trial April 13.

The Petersons face charges of murder in the Oct. 21, 2007, death of 30-year-old Christina Baxter, who weighed 46 pounds when she died.

According to earlier accounts in The Augusta Chronicle , Ms. Baxter died of complications related to malnutrition. She was deaf, mute and unable to walk or to feed herself.

The Petersons took in Ms. Baxter, who is Mrs. Peterson's niece, after her former caregiver died in August 2004.

The day EMT personnel arrived at the Petersons' home, Mrs. Peterson refused to let them in to see Ms. Baxter. She brought the child-sized body outside.

When sheriff's investigators entered the home, they found feces covering the floors and walls.

The cockroach-infested home was inhabited by a number of cats and dogs and a 200-pound pig.

The Petersons were initially held without bond, but both were released on bond last year.

Reach Sandy Hodson at (706) 823-3226 or sandy.hodson@augustachronicle.com.

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HillGuy
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HillGuy 03/12/09 - 01:22 am
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where was this at??

where was this at??

advice
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advice 03/12/09 - 02:06 am
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In South Augusta on Karian

In South Augusta on Karian Drive

laprince
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laprince 03/12/09 - 03:31 am
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YEAH, they were insane to

YEAH, they were insane to live in those conditions. I can't see it any other way. Hurry, send the bus, put them on it, to the mental institution.

justus4
103
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justus4 03/12/09 - 05:22 am
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They both will be ruled
Unpublished

They both will be ruled insane and sent to a mental hospital without punishment in prison. There will attempts throughout the process for sympathy and they will get it. The coverage have already started with the headline about "mental state" in question. Wow! These guys gotta get another script.

patriciathomas
42
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patriciathomas 03/12/09 - 06:12 am
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This story dominated the AC

This story dominated the AC when it first hit back in '07. The Petersons knew what they were doing when they tortured the girl to death, though their actions were insane. What punishment would fit this crime?

Does_it_really_matter
1
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Does_it_really_matter 03/12/09 - 07:33 am
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The punishment for this crime

The punishment for this crime will ultimately be meted out by a judge far better equipped for this than any human....the judgement will come when they stand before G-d. It won't bring much satisfaction for those waiting in the here and now.....but what He can dish out will be far more effective. I just hope that when the jury finds these two insane (and mark my words, they will) The defendants get locked up far away from one another in a place where criminally insane are held. Let them wonder and worry, the way thier poor vicitm did.

SargentMidTown
8
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SargentMidTown 03/12/09 - 08:45 am
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This is unusal. Animal lovers

This is unusal. Animal lovers usually are more caring. Fry them!

FallingLeaves
27
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FallingLeaves 03/12/09 - 09:10 am
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Frying them is too good for

Frying them is too good for them. Does it really matter has the better idea.

heartfelt teacher
0
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heartfelt teacher 03/12/09 - 10:28 am
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As I remember the coverage,

As I remember the coverage, they were shown to be living in another area of Augusta and going over to Ms. Baxter's house to care for her. When arrested, their house was shown to be a nice (at least from the outside) yellow brick. As I said this is from memory, but what an impact it made on my memory. Ms. Baxter was not living with them. Correct?

brownskin30434
2
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brownskin30434 03/12/09 - 10:47 am
0
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Best punishment for these two

Best punishment for these two characters is to cripple their asses and let them move into the same house, under the same conditions that their poor victim did!

HYPOCRITES 08
7
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HYPOCRITES 08 03/12/09 - 04:15 pm
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Where is the regular crew on

Where is the regular crew on this one?

WorriedAboutOurFuture
16
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WorriedAboutOurFuture 03/12/09 - 05:17 pm
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I don't know why people were

I don't know why people were so surprised about this case. Disgusted, yes, but why would anyone in this nation be surprised about such indifference to the welfare and suffering of a defenseless, helpless, dependent human life, especially one so obviously disabled? After all, we made intentionally doing that kind of thing quite legal back in 1973. People like the Petersons are the logical result. This kind of behavior will become even more common as economic hardship increases and the legal protections of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness start to become nothing more than the fond memories of the few of us who survive becoming inconvenient to the Oh-so-enlightened generations coming up behind us. Or is that the O generation...

Jen2803
1
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Jen2803 03/12/09 - 07:03 pm
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Tell me they were not

Tell me they were not mentally disabled to live in such filth. I don't know of any sane person that would even step one foot in that house if they didn't have to. Don't you remember seeing the gross pictures on the news that was the most disgusting mess I've ever seen something has to be wrong with you to live like that. I'm not saying they should be able to walk free for doing what they did. They don't need to go to jail they need to be in a mental hospital.

enana03
0
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enana03 03/12/09 - 08:23 pm
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There is absolutely no excuse

There is absolutely no excuse for this. The Petersons chose to live in fiflth, they chose not to feed this poor helpless woman or to keep her clean and safe. I am sure they also "CHOSE" to take the check she was most likely receiving from SSI. Sickening. They should suffer they same fate!

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