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Clearwater man indicted in death of girlfriend, baby

LARGO — Craig Wall was indicted by a grand jury on Thursday on charges of murdering his girlfriend, Laura Taft, and their baby, Craig Wall Jr.

Now Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney Bernie McCabe will review the double-murder case to decide if it warrants pursuing the death penalty, said Bruce Bartlett, chief assistant state attorney.

When the 5-week-old baby died earlier this month, after suffering blunt trauma, police considered Wall a suspect. And Taft later got a temporary injunction against Wall, saying she feared he would kill her.

Wall, 34, was arrested Feb. 14 when he attended the boy's funeral in Largo, on a misdemeanor charge of violating that domestic violence injunction.

He was released on $1,000 bail the next day, in a court hearing that soon became controversial. McCabe said an attorney on his staff erred by failing to point out to the judge that Wall was a suspect in his son's death — a fact contained in the arrest affidavit — and that Wall had spent 14 years in prison. However, it's not clear if pointing out those things would have kept him in jail longer.

During that hearing, Wall denied doing anything wrong, saying, "My son died, sir, and she got mad at me. I have not did anything to her."

But two days after the hearing, Wall was accused of stabbing Taft, 29, to death in a new Clearwater apartment she had moved into.

If there was enough evidence to indict Wall for the baby's murder, why didn't Clearwater police arrest him earlier?

Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Watts said detectives "were able to get some additional information from the medical examiner this week which would indicate Craig Wall is the suspect."

Curtis Krueger can be reached at ckrueger@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8232.

Clearwater man indicted in death of girlfriend, baby 02/25/10 [Last modified: Friday, February 26, 2010 9:36am]
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