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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thrilled to hear
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thrilled to hear 01/08/09 - 08:57 am
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The doctors and staff that do

The doctors and staff that do the evaluations for Forensic referrals are able to tell the difference between an actor and the real thing. The person that mentioned that she should hear her children crying. she very well might, as Schizophrenia is a life long illness. Not something that has a quick fix. She will need medication and counseling for the rest of her life. The problem is that, if she stops her medication that she very might will start to have them same hallucinations again.
Please don't think that I am trying to make excuses for what she did. I think it is gross, sick and would never think about such a thing. But having worked in Mental Health for 15 yrs no, I have seen people that for some reason, break from reality and do things that you and I would never consider. Does it make it right? Of course not. but we need to let her get the help that she needs and she will get that @ Central State.
BTW, the people there don't play any games, you do as you are told or you will face the Consequences. Which can be very very harsh.

LynxRHot
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LynxRHot 01/08/09 - 08:58 am
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It's easy for anyone to have

It's easy for anyone to have a temporary moment of insanity...that doesn't negate the fact that you know right from wrong. I'm sorry but "the devil made me do it" doesn't excuse anyone from wrong-doing. She could have put her children up for adoption if she felt they weren't safe with her. Temporary insanity is a crock of bull.

DRAMAMAMA
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DRAMAMAMA 01/08/09 - 09:01 am
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blah blah blah...

blah blah blah...

DRAMAMAMA
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DRAMAMAMA 01/08/09 - 09:01 am
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blah blah blah...

blah blah blah...

ITDoc
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ITDoc 01/08/09 - 09:02 am
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Voices tell me to do things

Voices tell me to do things all the time. I choose to ignore them. I pity this murderess and pray she serves the rest of her life unprotected from the mentally ill @ State Mental Prison.

stillamazed
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stillamazed 01/08/09 - 09:03 am
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Watch it, someone may think

Watch it, someone may think you are mental........

thrilled to hear
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thrilled to hear 01/08/09 - 09:03 am
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Dramamama - is that your

Dramamama - is that your offical diagnosis? :}

christian134
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christian134 01/08/09 - 09:06 am
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So she can stay insane for a

So she can stay insane for a couple of years and then the voices go away and she is cured...Ready and able to live, produce more babies and when life closes in she will do what..Hear Voices Again?

justthefacts
20255
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justthefacts 01/08/09 - 09:08 am
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IMHO, the comments could have

IMHO, the comments could have stopped with the first one from PT. Anyone who would kill their child is insane.

hopeful
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hopeful 01/08/09 - 09:09 am
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I agree Howdie, she knew

I agree Howdie, she knew right from wrong two days before and had sympathy for a dog!!!!!???????Of course she is insane. Anyone who kills their kids or anyone else for that fact is insane. How long will it be when she "Is all better" and put back in society will it be before she hears voices again. Great performance!

stillamazed
1488
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stillamazed 01/08/09 - 09:10 am
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There is no cure for

There is no cure for schizophrenia. You can control the symptoms with meds but it does not go away. Besides she may never leave the mental health facility and it may be best that she doesn't.

christian134
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christian134 01/08/09 - 09:11 am
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One additional point in

One additional point in reference to this Judge and his own piece of clear cut dementia...Too bad this Judge wasn't presiding over the women who are currently in prison for killing a spouse or boyfriend after years of abuse...These women broke...One huge difference in many of these cases was the fact they only killed the abuser not the babies...I have a huge problem with this judgment call Judge Overstreet...You really need to reconsider leaving the bench...

thrilled to hear
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thrilled to hear 01/08/09 - 09:12 am
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Well said 5:00smwhr. I guess

Well said 5:00smwhr. I guess I didn't say it in that manner

HYPOCRITES 08
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HYPOCRITES 08 01/08/09 - 09:12 am
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Jewel that is probably why

Jewel that is probably why you are not in the Mental Health field.

ripjones
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ripjones 01/08/09 - 09:15 am
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My wife is a mental health

My wife is a mental health professional, turned Special Education teacher. We used to have this type of discussion all the time about one of her patients. She believes, like most of her kind, that everyone can be healed. Harsh reality, some can't. When her sister had to "get her off the bus", she should have seen this as a sign. For her to have driven this nut case all over town, and not straight to a hospital, is beyond me. She is the one that is going to have to live with this murder, or she should be. When/if she ever does get released, I would demand implanted birth control as part of her release, so if she nuts up again, there won't be any innocent children involved. And lastly, what in the hell was up with that hair yesterday. She was going on trial, not to the Modjeska for drinks !!

laprince
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laprince 01/08/09 - 09:17 am
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To the people on here that

To the people on here that don't believe in mental illness, I FEEL SORRY FOR YOU. You need to hope and pray it doesn't happen to you. If you have not experienced it, then you need to close your mouth because it is REAL. From the beginning starting in the book of Genesis, God told us about good and evil and how Satan tempts you. People God is real and so is Satan, you don't have to acknowledge it or believe it but it's going to come a time in your life that you are going to have to deal with it. SPIRITUAL WARFARE begins in the mind. That's your daily battleground. If your decision maker is not working properly you are subject to do anything. Some of you probably need to check yourself in to the mental institution for not believing it's real. Some of the crimminals are mental too in thinking they won't get caught for the crimes they do. Jails are over crowded because some of them are in the wrong place.

HYPOCRITES 08
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HYPOCRITES 08 01/08/09 - 09:19 am
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So if you are abused it will

So if you are abused it will be okay to kill your abuser? As long as it is an adult it's understandable? I am glad that she decided to have a Judge hear her case, not people who carry their biases on their sleeves.

truthisouttherestill
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truthisouttherestill 01/08/09 - 09:25 am
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she heard voices........well

she heard voices........well i say oscar mayer........everyone remember that when you get caught doing something you shouldn't........they should at least sterilize her........somebody call casey anthony and tell her to say she heard voices........soon every murderer will start claiming this defense......it is bs.......pick a jail up and put her under it

laprince
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laprince 01/08/09 - 09:27 am
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truthissouttherestill you

truthissouttherestill you here voices too!!! Evil ones. Check yourself before you wreck yourself.

oldbutstilluseful
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oldbutstilluseful 01/08/09 - 09:27 am
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HYPO, I'm sure because YOU

HYPO, I'm sure because YOU said it , her past is squeaky clean. You'll note I said probably. I said her family name is no stranger. I don't know for sure, that's why I said probably. It would be interesting to see her record and see her past instead of taking your word for it. You must know her personally.

cparker
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cparker 01/08/09 - 09:30 am
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I think the verdict is

I think the verdict is right... It is still my hope that she doesn't end up on the streets in two or three years starting another family as though this never happened. God forgive me... But some people clearly should never have children!!

laprince
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laprince 01/08/09 - 09:33 am
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christian134 until you become

christian134 until you become a judge, JUDGE, otherwise don't talk down Overstreet.

truthisouttherestill
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truthisouttherestill 01/08/09 - 09:33 am
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laprincess.......people don't

laprincess.......people don't have to claim to hear voices if they got some nut job like you yappin in their ear.........go back to playing with yourself

easy breezy
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easy breezy 01/08/09 - 09:38 am
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I agree, she should not be

I agree, she should not be able to bear anymore children. It doesn't matter how hard her life was. You don't just take the life of your children. This story weighed on my mind for days after hearing about it. They were innocent babies and may they rest in peace.

laprince
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laprince 01/08/09 - 09:39 am
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I agree cparker but she

I agree cparker but she probably wasn't mental when she had the children. The breakdown process didn't happen overnight. I believe she began to become overwhelmed with the responsibily of raising two children by herself, working at the POST Office, not getting a break. Her family wouldn't help and she was stressed out and just nutted up.

lorrainehsmith
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lorrainehsmith 01/08/09 - 09:40 am
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It is amazing that there are

It is amazing that there are so many righteous, honest, high on the horse, never did anything wrong to anyone, I have walked on water, judgmental, do-rights in the world.

Please remember: Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her." John 8:7

I_Wear_Lipstick_2
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I_Wear_Lipstick_2 01/08/09 - 09:42 am
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How was she still able to

How was she still able to have custody of her children? It seems to me after she visited the shrink the first few times and was prescribed meds the shrink should have notified someone that the kids might be in danger.

laprince
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laprince 01/08/09 - 09:44 am
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truthissouttherestill I will

truthissouttherestill I will yapp as long as I want but I have to stand on what the bible says in Proverbs, don't speak in the hearing of A Fool, lest he hate you. So your best bet is to ignore me seeing that you have a one track mind...

harrisjr
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harrisjr 01/08/09 - 09:44 am
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Billyidol, what do you mean

Billyidol, what do you mean by your people?

justus4
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justus4 01/08/09 - 09:47 am
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Overstreet made the correct
Unpublished

Overstreet made the correct ruling in this case. He looked at the evidence, looked at the law and made the right decision according to the law. The decision to not have a jury trial was brilliant, because "we" know what "they" would've decided, while lying to the judge about honesty. The 'ol saying goes, 'if u guilty seek a jury trial, but if u not, seek a bench trial" and in this case, it worked. Again, good job judge O!

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