Judge slams woman whose 2 little daughters died in increasingly hot car
A judge sentenced a mother of two who left her daughters in a hot car. The judge said that people treat pets better than how the mother did her daughters.
According to Hill Country, Amanda Hawkins made a guilty plea to two felony counts of child abandonment or endangerment which caused imminent danger of death, bodily injury, or physical or mental impairment.
Judge Keith Williams listened as the kids' fathers gave victim impact testimonials. Then he sentenced her to serve four sentences of 20 years. Each pair of sentences for both daughters would be served concurrently.
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Hawkins caused her daughters, Brynn and Addyson, one and two years old respectively, to die when she left them overnight in a hot car on June 6, 2017.
The then 19-year-old was partying and smoking marijuana with other teens at a friend's home in Kerrville. The temperature reached in the high 80s at one point, causing the girls to cry out for help.
Kerr County Sheriff W. R. Hierholzer said last year:
"She [Hawkins] said, 'No, it's fine. They'll cry themselves to sleep."
Prosecutors claimed the car's engine was on for a period of time. However, when a boy at the party slept in the vehicle, he turned it off upon leaving. He also rolled the windows up.
Judge Williams said:
"Those precious little girls would still be here today if this had not happened."
When Hawkins finally took her girls out of the car the next morning, they were unconscious. It had been 10-15 hours. Yet she refused to go to the hospital right away for fear of getting into trouble.
She bathed them in cold water and went to the hospital two hours later. There, Hawkins was seen laughing in front of her phone. When she was offered a place to stay for the night, she went to a hotel instead.
Judge Williams described his incredulity:
"People in our community take better care of their pets than you took care of your kids."
Hawkins told authorities that her kids had been in a local park and smelled poisonous flowers. Kevin Franke, the boy who didn't know the kids were sleeping in the back, gave investigators the real story.
Dr. John Gebhart worked at least 40 hours trying to keep the two girls alive. He later explained that their deaths would have been long and painful. Ultimately, "brain swelling is what actually killed these kids."
Before her sentence, Hawkins stated:
"I will accept whatever the punishment may be. There are no excuses for what I did. I do love them and care about them."
Letters that Amanda wrote in jail showed she was focused on other things besides her daughters. The letters included her desire to get plastic surgery on her chest and buttocks, and she said she was a "sex addict."
Only two letters included sentiments that she missed her daughters. Most of them referenced new relationships
Franke, 16, will face trial next year on January 22, 2019. He faces two counts of first-degree murder for his actions on the night.
Hot car deaths continue to be a horrific way children die too often every year. On average, 37 children die due to overheated cars. It may be because they lock themselves in or someone else does.
The state of Texas experiences the most car deaths, with 100 taking place between 1998 and 2015. As expected, summertime sees the largest amount of hot car deaths for the year.
Another death took place back in September in the front yard of a family's home. An unidentified 11-year-old was left in the car while her mother went out to do errands.
Upon her return, the mother observed one child was missing and called 911. The poor girl died at Stony Brook Hospital sometime later. The family, police, and neighbors were devastated.
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