Testimony contradicts Memphis mother's explanations in murder trial

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

(WMC-TV) - Prosecutors spent another day disproving the different stories Shakara Dickens explained for the absence of her 9-month-old daughter, Lauryn Dickens.

Shakara Dickens sat through day three of the trial Thursday.

Lauryn Dickens went missing around Labor Day of 2010.  The paternal grandparents said they were not babysitting at the time, contrary to one of Shakara Dickens' explanations.

Prosecutors said Lauryn Dickens was not put up for adoption through a local agency, especially not over Labor Day weekend like Shakara Dickens once claimed.

Tabitha Jordan, a friend of Shakara Dickens at the time, said she partied with friends at Level 2 five days after her daughter went missing.  She described Shakara Dickens as "excited" while going out that weekend.

Thursday afternoon, jailhouse friend Lanette Lane testified that Shakara Dickens "confessed" during chapel one day.  She said Shakara Dickens broke down during a jailhouse preacher's sermon one day.

"She was preaching about God forgives you of your sins and things like that," said Lane.  "Shakara started crying and saying, 'God would not forgive me for what I've done.'"

Lane said Shakara Dickens admitted to doing "what I was in for."  Afterward, Lane wrote a letter to a judge at 201 Poplar to explain what she witnessed.

"Shakara's baby, I'm not even sure of her name because she don't hardly talk about the baby, but it was seeing the picture of the baby that just really made me feel bad about it," said Lane.

Defense attorneys said Shakara Dickens has never admitted to killing her daughter, but prosecutors argued they found more evidence from behind bars.

In early 2011, investigators discovered a poem in Shakara Dickens' jail cell.  They claimed it read like an admission.

"It's one thing you know about me that no one else knows, but I would never take my secrets to the head because when I die, it goes with me to the grave," said Sgt. Deborah Carson with the Memphis Police Department as she read from the poem.

Shakara Dickens decided not to testify.

The prosecution and defense rested Thursday.  The judge plans to read the jury charge Thursday evening just before they end for the day.

The trial resumes at 9:00 a.m. Friday with closing arguments, after which the jury will deliberate.

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