Woman who killed 2 children in 2007 will be committed

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A 23-year-old Augusta mother who stabbed her two children to death and was found not guilty by reason of insanity Wednesday told a doctor who examined her that she gave in to the voices in her head demanding she kill them.

Chief Judge J. Carlisle Overstreet, who presided over Jeanette M. Hawes' case and conducted Wednesday's bench trial in Richmond County Superior Court, issued the verdict on the murder charges and ordered Ms. Hawes committed.

The only issue Wednesday was Ms. Hawes' mental state when she killed her children in November 2007.

To the two doctors who examined Ms. Hawes, it was clear she was insane at the time she killed Shakayla Hawes, 3, and Jordan Hawes, 1, in the bathroom of a Lumpkin Road convenience store.

She stabbed Shakayla 11 times over her heart, piercing it once, according to the autopsy report. The toddler had a cut on her hand consistent with a defensive wound. The boy had two cuts in the heart area and four small puncture marks on his chest. One of the cuts went through his heart, according to the autopsy report.

Susan Haverstock, a board-certified psychiatrist and associate clinical professor at the Medical College of Georgia, testified that she believes Ms. Hawes suffered a psychotic break common to people as they develop schizophrenia.

Ms. Hawes became paranoid and believed people she worked with at the post office were out to get her months before the killings. She began having crying spells and was laid off or fired, Dr. Haverstock found. Ms. Hawes began hearing voices, and in July 2007 she was prescribed an antidepressant because she was depressed, anxious and not sleeping well.

In the days leading up to the stabbings, the paranoia increased. She began a bizarre journey to Atlanta, back to Augusta and then to Aiken with her two children in tow, the doctor said.

The voices she had been hearing for months were now directing her actions, the doctor found.

On Nov. 29, 2007, she picked up a kitchen knife and walked about a mile with her children to the Texaco gas station on Lumpkin Road.

"I didn't want them to have to run anymore," Ms. Hawes told Dr. Haverstock. "I was trying to protect them ... to stop them from being chased.

"I heard voices in the bathroom telling me to stab my kids."

Psychologist Gordon Brown, who also evaluated Ms. Hawes, testified that he agreed Ms. Hawes was acting with a delusional compulsion and was unable to tell right from wrong.

Assistant District Attorney Philip Catalano said prosecutors looked at every piece of evidence that might indicate Ms. Hawes was sane but nothing countered the doctors' findings.

Defense attorney Barry Middleton asked the judge for the not guilty verdict, arguing that the evidence presented proved Ms. Hawes was not sane when she killed the children.

The judge agreed.

In the courtroom, Ms. Hawes sobbed into a pile of tissue as Mr. Middleton read the summary of the stipulation of the facts that she agreed to.

Ms. Hawes will undergo a mental evaluation within 30 days, and a report will be prepared for Judge Overstreet. State law gives the judge the responsibility to determine if and when a commitment to a mental hospital is no longer necessary.

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

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patriciathomas
42
Points
patriciathomas 01/08/09 - 06:06 am
0
0
It seem to me that anyone

It seem to me that anyone that would stab their young children is insane. The question is how soon she'll be allowed to be in a position to have another "psychotic break"? If this young lady isn't going to be salvaged for parts, she needs to be well confined and away from society.

debby
12
Points
debby 01/08/09 - 06:08 am
0
0
If that's all the punishment

If that's all the punishment she gets, she needs to stay in the mental hospital for the rest of her life.

nofrillls13
0
Points
nofrillls13 01/08/09 - 07:17 am
0
0
I only hope she is never well

I only hope she is never well enough to be released back in the world

1941
4
Points
1941 01/08/09 - 07:18 am
0
0
PT&debby, Until you have

PT&debby, Until you have walked in her shoes,SHUT UP!!

SCGAL53
0
Points
SCGAL53 01/08/09 - 07:29 am
0
0
mimsy, there will be a lot of

mimsy, there will be a lot of ridiculous comments made on this article from the usual panel of "experts". I agree with you completely.

howdie
0
Points
howdie 01/08/09 - 07:45 am
0
0
Two days before she brutally

Two days before she brutally murdered her children she was on channel 12 saying it was so wrong to kill a dog and yet she supposedly didnt know right from wrong when she killed her children

shivas
2
Points
shivas 01/08/09 - 07:52 am
0
0
It's sad that you people have

It's sad that you people have no understanding of mental illness, yet make judgements such as this.

KMAAC
0
Points
KMAAC 01/08/09 - 07:57 am
0
0
nimsy - If you are walking in

nimsy - If you are walking in similar style shoes, please do society a favor and take yourself out first and spare your innocent toddlers.

Billy Idol
0
Points
Billy Idol 01/08/09 - 08:01 am
0
0
Its obvious who is from the

Its obvious who is from the same type of community as Hawes. Let's keep feeling sorry and making excuses for "your people." It hasn't done them any good thus far.

DRAMAMAMA
0
Points
DRAMAMAMA 01/08/09 - 08:05 am
0
0
wow....easy like a sunday

wow....easy like a sunday morning...what a way to get away with murder....and on top of that if she is released she'll probably go out and end up getting pregnant again some time and i pray she doesnt do it again to any future children she has....wow

DRAMAMAMA
0
Points
DRAMAMAMA 01/08/09 - 08:07 am
0
0
oh and i hope she doesnt keep

oh and i hope she doesnt keep hearing "voices" any more.....instead i hope she hears her children crying and cryng...keep her commited for life

LadyCisback
4
Points
LadyCisback 01/08/09 - 08:14 am
0
0
I am speechless..

I am speechless..

pah4r
0
Points
pah4r 01/08/09 - 08:27 am
0
0
Yeah, this female was insane

Yeah, this female was insane like a FOX. She made trips to Atlanta and Aiken with the children, BUT waited until she was close to home to MURDER the children. She should have gotten the needle for killing two innocent children who only asked of their supposed mother for the best. Their just rewards for loving this beast and looking to her for comfort and protection was cold hard steel through the heart. These bleeding heart doctors??? and judges need to be replaced NOW.

oldbutstilluseful
0
Points
oldbutstilluseful 01/08/09 - 08:30 am
0
0
This family name is no

This family name is no stranger to the news and law enforcement. You would "probably" find that with her past, if she were behind bars where she should have been, as in the case of the Elmor family, this would not have happened. This city is full of carreer criminals that the Judges keep putting back out on the streets to prey on law abiding citizens and creating these situations. I know it costs money to keep them in jail, but it also costs money to prosecute these folks and still turn them loose to prey on the public. I'm no expert, but I read and see these career names. I don't have the answer but I see a big part of the problem.

doubt_it
3
Points
doubt_it 01/08/09 - 08:34 am
0
0
If she had just killed them

If she had just killed them in utero, we wouldn't have a story.

thrilled to hear
0
Points
thrilled to hear 01/08/09 - 08:37 am
0
0
Ms Hawes was not found

Ms Hawes was not found inoccent, but found not guilty for reason of insanity (NGRI). Which means that she will serve her sentence in the forensics unit at Central State Hospital. For people that have mental illness and felonies, they serve their time in one of the Forensic units. Augusta has a medium security unit for men. Inmates, which she still will be, have their own code of conduct and those that harm children and women are looked down on. Normally, they are placed in "special population" meaning that they re in isloation from the rest of the population. but, as for as I know of, there isn't any "special population" on the forensic units. I know that the Augusta unit doesn't have one.
She will serve her sentence, may it be XX amount of years, there and not in a "prison". IMHO, she will wish that she was in a prison as there is no specail population on the forensic units and even though they are all criminals, they take care of their own in their own way.
Not to worry, she will not be getting out on the streets anytime soon. And she will be getting the proper care that she needs.

mommato2
25
Points
mommato2 01/08/09 - 08:38 am
0
0
I knew this girl's two

I knew this girl's two sisters; we were friends in 5th grade. I hate the idea of someone killing their kids for any reason, but she has been through hell and back. Her 14 yr old sister was murdered in a drive-by in the 90s, they have pretty much lived in poverty their entire life, not living in the best neighborhood, etc. I am not defending her in any way, but you do not know if she was insane or not. Her doctors determined this, and until you become a doctor, understand about psychotics and things of that nature, and examine her, you cannot automatically judge her and assume she did this out of hatred. A lot of people out there are sick, and I hope she gets the help she needs. The best we can do is pray, and not judge when we were not there. I'm sure once she is well, she is going to still be the most miserable person, b/c then she will know what she did to her babies and it'll eat at her everyday. I wish she would have been able to take the babies to a safe place and get help beforehand, but you do not know her entire situation. I agree her babies shouldn't have been killed, that is the most horrible thing that can happen. Please don't judge like that.

HYPOCRITES 08
7
Points
HYPOCRITES 08 01/08/09 - 08:39 am
0
0
What is this " Your People"

What is this " Your People" B.S.? This young lady has a mental illness that is treatable. Several years ago a man walked into a mental health clinic killed one lady and wounded at least 3 more people. Guess what? He was found to have a mental illness. This is not about anyone " People" but about a young lady that reached out for help but it fell on deaf ears.

stillamazed
1488
Points
stillamazed 01/08/09 - 08:40 am
0
0
If she is treated and stays

If she is treated and stays on her medication she should be alright, the problem is that the mental health system in this country has failed alot of people, that man up in New York or New Jersy who had schizophrenia and murdered that young woman had begged to be put back into a facility and they would only keep him short term. Some people on this post are so very nasty, but you never know when someone in your own family may develop a mental illness. And to you pah4r, are you saying here that mental illness does not exist? If so then you are an idiot, people have tried to use the insanity defense many times and failed, it isn't that easy so if two doctors came to the same conclusion then I believe it.

DRAMAMAMA
0
Points
DRAMAMAMA 01/08/09 - 08:42 am
0
0
Was she "insane"?? Or just a

Was she "insane"?? Or just a good actress....??? And the Oscar goes to...???

DRAMAMAMA
0
Points
DRAMAMAMA 01/08/09 - 08:43 am
0
0
Im sorry but I dont have any

Im sorry but I dont have any pity what so ever for ANYONE that kills their child!

HYPOCRITES 08
7
Points
HYPOCRITES 08 01/08/09 - 08:44 am
0
0
OLDBUT, what past does she

OLDBUT, what past does she have? She does not have a criminal history and the fact that her sister was a murder victim should not be a negative towards her. Oh I forgot if you are poor you have no right to claim mental illness, it is just an excuse but heaven forbids that you have a little money, you must have been insane to do this.

HYPOCRITES 08
7
Points
HYPOCRITES 08 01/08/09 - 08:46 am
0
0
No one care if you have pity

No one care if you have pity or not. She went through the justice system and just like Yates and a few others, she was found temporarily insane.

stillamazed
1488
Points
stillamazed 01/08/09 - 08:47 am
0
0
Are the doctors who diagnosed

Are the doctors who diagnosed her idiots? Or are they professionals who know the difference between a truly mentally ill person or an actress??????

mommato2
25
Points
mommato2 01/08/09 - 08:51 am
0
0
If this were some high class

If this were some high class citizen, you would be congratulating him or her on the help they are getting. I knew this girl's situation, which is why I am glad she is getting help. To call her an actress is ridiculous. Even the 2 doctors said she was sick. She may have been asking for help and no one listened. The family has been through a lot and she was a young, probably single, mother. Quit being so quick to judge.

HYPOCRITES 08
7
Points
HYPOCRITES 08 01/08/09 - 08:51 am
0
0
All of her actions on the

All of her actions on the three days prior to this was a call for help. Hell even her sister had to get the police involved to get her off of the bus. If she was so " Insane like a FOX", please explain why she killed them in a public place instead of in the woods or her own apartment? I guess she is so intelligent that she knew that she would be found not guilty but mentally ill?

pah4r
0
Points
pah4r 01/08/09 - 08:51 am
0
0
Mental illness does exist

Mental illness does exist 5:00smwhr, and I am NO idiot for I have had a relative diagnosed with a mental illness and was cured. BUT guess what folks, this relative DID NOT go out and murder any one, did not harm any one. Oh yes, you must be insane to pick up a knife at home and then walk to a gas station restroom before committing murder in lieu of doing it at home immediately after getting the knife. I still say crazy as a FOX.

onlynaugusta
41
Points
onlynaugusta 01/08/09 - 08:53 am
0
0
She is not mental. The system

She is not mental. The system is mental for allowing her to escape the death penalty. People like her escape through the system, where as others would have been executed. It's not fair that mental illness is excused in this case. If she was so mental, why didn't she stab herself or attempt to take her own life? She was the one with the problems, not the children. They didn't ask to be brought into this world nor did they have the desire to leave in such a harsh manner.

HYPOCRITES 08
7
Points
HYPOCRITES 08 01/08/09 - 08:56 am
0
0
That is YOUR relative.

That is YOUR relative. everyone is not the same. Explain why your relative has a mental illness but his/her other family members do not? You still did not explain why would she do it there instead at home? You cannot that is why you have not answered the question.

stillamazed
1488
Points
stillamazed 01/08/09 - 08:56 am
0
0
Nice to see so many mental

Nice to see so many mental health professionals posting this morning.

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