An Ohio mother on Feb. 23 pleaded guilty to the brutal murder of her 3-month-old baby, who was stabbed and decapitated. A Hamilton County judge handed down a sentence of 15 years to life in prison for the crime.
Deasia Watkins, 22, told the judge she deeply loved her daughter, Jayniah Watkins, who perished in March 2015, WLWT reports.
Watkins had initially pleaded not guilty to the court by reason of insanity. As a result, the court ordered she be psychiatrically evaluated -- an evaluation which found her competent to stand trial, the Daily Mail reports.
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Psychiatrists diagnosed her with postpartum psychosis, court documents reveal. She was placed on medication, her lawyers told the judge.
On March 16, 2015, law enforcement officials responded to a 911 call and rushed to the home of Watkins' aunt, who was taking care of the child, and discovered the decapitated infant on the kitchen counter.
County prosecutor Joe Deters said police found Watkins in a bed at her aunt's home, covered in blood and battling "serious mental issues."
Jayniah had been stabbed multiple times with a large kitchen knife and one of her arms was broken, officials said. Her mother had placed the murder weapon in the infant's hand, they added.
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"She later told police she did that so people would think the child did it -- not her," Hamilton County Assistant Prosecutor David Prem said in court, The Cincinnati Enquirer reports.
Court records reveal Watkins had been "acting crazy" and raving about demons in the time leading up to the murder.
She was deemed a threat to her infant child by a juvenile court judge, who granted Hamilton County Job and Family Services custody of the child.
The government family services agency later placed Jayniah in the short-term care of an aunt, under the stipulation the aunt would not let the mother have contact with the child unless social workers were present, local officials explained.
The prosecutor's team stated Job and Family Services followed court orders by locating a family member to take care of the child, while regularly checking on her.
But Deters said social workers were unaware the baby's mother had moved into the aunt's home about a week before the murder took place.
Court records indicate doctors had declared Watkins a threat to the child and required her to stay on psychiatric medication, hence the warning to the aunt.