Woman who killed 2 children in 2007 will be committed

  • Follow Metro

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.

Comments (307) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
jack
10
Points
jack 01/08/09 - 04:55 pm
0
0
HYpo, exactly when and to

HYpo, exactly when and to whom did she cry out for help to? I have to agree that anyone who can kill their kids is legally insane (not a mental health term) IMO. She will be where she should be for treatment of the psychosis she sufffers from. Perhaps paranoia, but I wasn't the Dr who examined her.

js_ee
0
Points
js_ee 01/08/09 - 05:00 pm
0
0
What this woman did was

What this woman did was completely wrong and she should never be free again. However, to those who mention "preventive measures", maybe there weren't any apparent warning signs. With my wife having a baby a year ago, I learned that postpartum depression is real and extremely dangerous if it goes un-noticed and/or untreated. You can be fine today and in complete disarray tomorrow AND it could happen to ANY new mother. Maybe her family didn't know what to look for and didn't know how to help her. In the end, she made a horrible mistake and now she should pay for it. Insane or not, she should never get out of jail.

jusanote
0
Points
jusanote 01/08/09 - 05:22 pm
0
0
My question is if she killed

My question is if she killed her kids to protect them and keep them away from the people who were supoosedly after them why didn't she kill herself as well? Also, she may have had mental difficulties but why didn't she go to someone and say please take my kids because something is wrong? She had to know deep down that what she was doing by stabbing those babies was wrong. I don't know if she is crazy or not but I don't think that she deserved a walk for what she did. She could receive medication for her illness in prison. I know that because I used to work in one and there were inmates there with mental problems. The hospital will medicate and treat her and she will probably be back on the street in a year, those babies will never see another day and she should pay for that. A hard childhood is no excuse for murder.

KSL
119011
Points
KSL 01/08/09 - 05:29 pm
0
0
Sandy, that is not when he

Sandy, that is not when he made that decision. He learned to do herat surgery in the 60's and had a very successful and long term practice in California. The mental illness reared up years later. The surviving twin does take his medication. The likes of you don't need to be telling me what to do.

ITDoc
1
Points
ITDoc 01/08/09 - 05:58 pm
0
0
SandyK: ""Anyone who murders

SandyK: ""Anyone who murders anyone is at least temporarily insane." ---- Nope. Most are quite coherent and know right from wrong.""" Just how many murderers did you survey to decide this, Sandy? Family reunion perhaps?

wcorowitz
6
Points
wcorowitz 01/08/09 - 06:03 pm
0
0
i would feel safer for

i would feel safer for society if she never got out again, but she's in her early 20's, so that's unlikely. She probably does need to be sterilized. She can't be trusted with children again. She's a good looking woman so some man out there will want to be with her again. She shouldn't be allowed to reproduce again. Life is a gift that no human has the right to take lightly, so if she really is insane, then it would be loving to sterilize her.

mommato2
25
Points
mommato2 01/08/09 - 06:09 pm
0
0
Race has nothing to do with

Race has nothing to do with it, people. Not everything has to deal with race. That is one thing I hate about the south, is that it's always about race. I am white, and I was friends with this black girl's family. It doesn't make a difference.

river-rat
0
Points
river-rat 01/08/09 - 06:13 pm
0
0
If she was 22 when she killed

If she was 22 when she killed her children. How old was she when she gave birth to the poor kids and where's the father? Another sad story out of the black community.

js_ee
0
Points
js_ee 01/08/09 - 06:38 pm
0
0
Why not another sad story for

Why not another sad story for the Community (Augusta). This type of story is common to ALL communities.

dade30906
224
Points
dade30906 01/08/09 - 06:42 pm
0
0
Chief Jurist Carlisle

Chief Jurist Carlisle Overstreet misjudged the merits of this case and the ruling he made has caused injustice for the little lad and girl who was killed by they own mother.And for Ms. Hawes she need to be incarcerate behind a prison wall.

suburbsofWestAugustaConi
0
Points
suburbsofWestAugustaConi 01/08/09 - 07:03 pm
0
0
The usual people like

The usual people like river-rat which are idiots. Use anything they can to make it about race. Baby caylee 22 or 23 year old mother killed her too. How old was shen when she fave birth to the poor kids and where's the father. Is that another sad story out of the white community.

river-rat
0
Points
river-rat 01/08/09 - 08:08 pm
0
0
Learn to

Learn to spell.............augustaconi. Dictionarys don't cost much. Maybe you can get a voucher for one.

js_ee
0
Points
js_ee 01/08/09 - 08:18 pm
0
0
I wouldn't be to quick to

I wouldn't be to quick to throw that stone river-rat..."DICTIONARIES"

corgimom
26287
Points
corgimom 01/08/09 - 08:37 pm
0
0
There is so much prejudice

There is so much prejudice and ignorance about schizophrenia. Some suffer from psychosis all the time; some are psychotic about some things, but not all things; and some are sane for most of the time but can become psychotic without warning. And schizophrenics, even while psychotic, can also be logical about some things. As for "someone taking away her kids"- ever heard of due process? Heard of civil rights? Many people are very reluctant to appear before a magistrate (which costs money, by the way) and swear out a commitment order. Many people are reluctant to give up blood relatives to the horror of foster care. The only way anyone knows that a person wants to harm themselves or others is to ask them and have the person respond "yes". If they lie and say no, there is no way to get them an involuntary commitment. And did you know that, unless there is a court order, no mentally ill person is required to take their medications? Schizophrenia is a living hell for the patient and their families and that woman deserves compassion, not condemnation.

So tell me...
0
Points
So tell me... 01/08/09 - 08:56 pm
0
0
"She was prescribed an

"She was prescribed an antidepressant because she was depressed, anxious and not sleeping well." It concerns me what type of antidepressant she was taking... This is something someone should have looked into. Sometimes these meds makes persons feel worse and act out ridiculous thoughts. I was really upset about the outcome of this case, but reading that this woman was prescribed an antidepressant prior to is concerning... Major side effects

DEVGRU
0
Points
DEVGRU 01/08/09 - 09:17 pm
0
0
If you don't understand

If you don't understand mental illness and the medcations prescribed then please educate yourselves before passing judgement and I don't mean getting your education from the news media.

DEVGRU
0
Points
DEVGRU 01/08/09 - 09:20 pm
0
0
River-rat, you might need to

River-rat, you might need to get a dictionary of your own and see how "dictionaries" is spelled. Blind leading the blind.

So tell me...
0
Points
So tell me... 01/08/09 - 09:31 pm
0
0
Covertrecon... Are you a

Covertrecon... Are you a clinician?

Jillian
2
Points
Jillian 01/08/09 - 09:31 pm
0
0
hmmm lets see...she is too

hmmm lets see...she is too insane to NOT kill her innocent children, but sane enough to spare her own sorry life...oh yeah..I think I got the story straight...lock her in a room and give her the same treatment she gave those children.

griesella
0
Points
griesella 01/08/09 - 09:49 pm
0
0
There is no need to

There is no need to understand the meaning of insanity. Any person who intentionally takes the life of another is insane. That in no way means that the killer is not guilty of a heinous act of abuse of two innocent children and should be treated like all other murderers by our legal system..

FallingLeaves
27
Points
FallingLeaves 01/08/09 - 10:03 pm
0
0
I haven't the time to read

I haven't the time to read this whole thread, but is anyone aware that at the age of ten she witnessed the murder of her sister by Justin Elmore's sister in a drive-by? I don't think many people would have been free of "issues" after that.

FallingLeaves
27
Points
FallingLeaves 01/08/09 - 10:06 pm
0
0
Did anyone notice she was

Did anyone notice she was interviewed (regarding her brother's pitbull being stabbed to death by a woman, I believe the woman was first attacked by the pitbull), a short time before this incident? Something about her demeanor caught my attention then as out of sync or I wouldn't have remembered her. I wonder if anyone else pulled up that video to illustrate her state of mind.

SandyK2005
1
Points
SandyK2005 01/08/09 - 10:37 pm
0
0
"SandyK - If a schizophrenic

"SandyK - If a schizophrenic kills your children, something tells me you wouldn't be as compassionate to their illness." ----- Would you be asking for that guy who, while driving, had a heart attack and careened into your kids car and killed them, to get the death penalty and more? You know that's a freak of nature and nothing anyone could've prevented. You'd be upset, but you can't stop fate. Same goes with someone who's schizophrenic. Responsibility goes to those who understand their situation, who appreciates what they're doing, and does something god awful regardless (a drunk who drives, for example) --- not someone who not only doesn't know what day it is, barely knows even family, let alone where they are FOR YEARS! Educate yourself, ignorance isn't an excuse. And anyone else: she's 23 years-old, and that's the time when schizophrenia first emerges. It usually occurs in late puberty to early twenties (often when kids are in college), the pattern is all there. First the withdrawal; the "quirks" close friends and family may brush off; then the full blown emergence. She didn't even know what was coming. Sad, as they're so pretty and bright, and it strikes them in their prime.

Rose
17
Points
Rose 01/08/09 - 10:42 pm
0
0
Jillian I agree with your

Jillian I agree with your 8:31 comment..lock her in a room and give her the same treatment she gave those children.

SandyK2005
1
Points
SandyK2005 01/08/09 - 10:46 pm
0
0
Rose, ignorance is no excuse,

Rose, ignorance is no excuse, that's the law. How about applying the law to yourself?

dove64
0
Points
dove64 01/08/09 - 10:48 pm
0
0
we have no right to judge

we have no right to judge anyone. only god has that right. i really am heartbroken over those two little children. they had their right to live also.

Lorraine
140
Points
Lorraine 01/08/09 - 10:52 pm
0
0
It is amazing that many

It is amazing that many readers have made comments regarding their beliefs that Jeanette Hawes was not insane during the commission of a crime. Who gave you the right to judge? More importantly, most of these readers have no clue or insight into mental illness.

KSL
119011
Points
KSL 01/08/09 - 10:54 pm
0
0
marian, we have every right

marian, we have every right to judge. God may have the final judgment, but law and order must be kept.

SandyK2005
1
Points
SandyK2005 01/08/09 - 10:55 pm
0
0
"Baby caylee 22 or 23 year

"Baby caylee 22 or 23 year old mother killed her too." ---- The difference is she can and does appreciate the crime. Plus, she's functional and can relate to others and her environment. A bona fide schizophrenic can't, as they're not even in reality. They won't be going out to a nightclub partying, let alone even appreciating fashion and trends --- they can't as that's REALITY. Anyone who has/had a loved one with schizophrenia understands how difficult to get them to even wear clothes that match, let alone out of bed, to eat, to bathe. Just like a child, you get them all dressed and clean, and in 2hrs it's all ruined. Apples and oranges.

KSL
119011
Points
KSL 01/08/09 - 10:56 pm
0
0
Lorraine, everyone is

Lorraine, everyone is entitled to his opinion.

Back to Top

Top headlines

Germany wins World Cup

RIO DE JANEIRO - Mario Goetze volleyed in the winning goal in extra time to give Germany its fourth World Cup title with a 1-0 victory over Argentina on Sunday.
Loading...