The Strange Case of Hannah Overton
After five years in prison for the murder of her foster son, Hannah Overton is free on bail.
She was accused of force feeding the child salt as a disciplinary act, causing his death.
Through the arrest, trial, and conviction of Overton I was asked repeatedly to advocate for her release based on the fact that she was a Christian.
I didn’t believe I had enough information to do so, but the church and community she came from have worked tirelessly for her release.
Now, she will have that second chance to prove her innocence.
The Texas Monthly has more on this case including a very damning look at the prosecution.
Hannah is a sweet loving Christian — did nothing wrong but use tobasco sauce on his tongue for discipline. Her crime was not getting him to a hospital fast enough when he began vomiting.
a couple things here… first of all we do not, as Christians, escape accountability if we have committed a crime – by the grace of God, perhaps we do on rare occassions and forgiveness is a given, but claiming the Faith doesn’t give us a pass
secondly, i know that one can adjust to ‘hot sauce,’ but hot sauce on a young child’s tongue could not be called discipline… i recall daring my cousin to put his tongue on an open Tabasco sauce bottle when we were in grammar school – he turned red, ran to the water faucet and his tongue hurt for quite a while afterwards… the woman, perhaps, was not aware of what the little one would experience?
pray for Hannah and her vindication if innocent? i most certainly will join in doing that and i pray for her comfort in the loss of the child
I agree that using hot sauce for discipline is wrong and stupid. But it was determined that did not cause his death. He got into the salt – he was always putting things in his mouth and eating stuff that he should not have eaten, but that was explained by a condition he had. The anger over her admission to using Tobasco for discipline caused the jury to dislike her and blame the death on her. I know her personally. She is a sweet loving person who not only loved her children, natural and adopted, but loved the children in the church and took care of my kids and showed nothing but love to them at CC-Coastlands.
I suggest folks do a little research and see the whole story.
I have no idea what happened but this story has two sides.
Kudos to ABC TV, working for her release. Watch the ABC stories about her online somewhere.
Please do Xenia and then come back and share your outrage for what happened to her. No thinking human being could look at this story and not sympathize with her.
i commented on what today’s post said… i have said that i will pray… if i implied otherwise – a “rush to judgement” – if that is how my #2 reads, i do sincerely apologize
Em, I was just offering a general caution, not to anyone in particular.
May the truth come out and justice be done and the innocent exonerated and the guilty held accountable.
Well Friend-of-Hannah, I have read some disturbing information on both sides of the story.
May justice prevail.
did nothing wrong but use tobasco sauce on his tongue for discipline.<<<
Well no, it was Zatarain’s into a sippy cup of water, as she herself said on the stand.
Look, I have no idea what really happened or what anyone's motives were but I do recommend reading more than the Free Hannah literature.
If she is innocent, I hope it is proven and she can get on with her life.
Amazing all the people that are experts on emotionally abnormal adopted psychotic children.
I’m guessing they didn’t attempt it themselves. I think the link to ABC has been posted. Perhaps watch? Why is ungodly TV more compassionate than Texas chainsaw Christians?
perhaps the ones who need an education on the above are the good people who step up to adopt/foster these children … what a terrible situation to be confronted with when one has the best of intentions, are naturally good at parenting and, yet, have no knowledge of what syndrome confronts them at all … those who place such children may be too eager to do so?
This is a horrendous story…
Lord, have mercy.
“Why is ungodly TV more compassionate than Texas chainsaw Christians?”
Probably the same reason why some Christians use ungodly hyperbole to describe other Christians asking reasonable questions.
I’m with Xenia on this one…I’ll watch and pray that justice be done.
My gut feeling is that it was a series of mistakes and not a deliberate murder.
If I were to be honest I would say I agree with that assessment completely…and she’s probably served the appropriate time.
I could be wrong.
Anybody here listening to the Serial Podcast?
Tomorrow is the last episode and it is pretty obvious that it’s not going to end with the revelation of the true killer.
Obviously we don’t have enough information from the data shown on the tv report. We can never really depend on it. There is always more to the story.
However nothing in the story led me to believe a murder was committed. First, I believe this couple could easily have let this young man go back to the state if he was unmanageable. Second, proving intent is absolutely not in evidence from the story. I have been on criminal juries and someone dominated that group and sold their version of the story, Those jurors did as much as admitted that they had not found the case on the merits according to the law. Third, the obvious truth shaping done by the prosecution… well it is their job but the follow up story indicates the prosecutor had her own problems with the truth. She was an addict.
The family was obviously thoughtful and clear in their self expressions. There was no gotcha moment. The stuff that was made to look bad had reasonable explanations. A couple with that many children doesn’t panic every time a kid gets sick. They roll with things. I have no doubt I would have resisted going to the emergency room.
The family held together while she was in jail… let them have their life back. A terrible accident killed a child, the family paid for their negligence.
Bury this case… end it
Thank you BD for actually looking at the facts and reporting your sane impressions. Texas is known for their ignorant juries and corrupt judges. They stole a good mom away from her children.
I am in total agreement with BD’s observations.
What more, it is not uncommon for foster care of adoptive children to have huge attachment issues. We do not know if this child was acting out due to trauma from having to leave the former foster parent or even if he was traumatized by the foster parent, thus acting out the trauma in a much safer place within the accused home, by testing the boundaries and re-enacting former traumas. The most reliable witness was the doctor who verified that the child suffered from PICA. The most appalling statements came from the two jurors, as well as, the 2 prosecutors. The teacher only confirmed that the child had a history of acting out in a manner that would indicate that emotional trauma was experienced much earlier in his life.
I was surprised that they did not have more experts involved in this case. At the same time I know only too well how often cases are not tried to expose the truth, but rather for the sake of winning. In Texas, it is not unusual at all for the prosecution to add notches to their gun belt, so to speak in order to climb up the political ladder. This prosecutor was quite practiced in maintaining her position as to appear as if the direction she took was for the sake of truth and justice. The other prosecutor almost (well actually did) front her off, but I doubt if many caught it.
As for the parents making the decisions that they did. They did what most parents would do in the moments that led up to driving to the ER. It’s always easier for others to sit back to think about what they would have done. As for having a camera in the child’s bedroom, this is not unusual at all when a child being brought into the home is acting out in the manner reported. It is for his safety as well as for the safety of the rest of the family.
The child was diagnosed as having PICA. This means taking a little hot spice into his system would be comparably insignificant and if it was being used as a disciplinary measure, it would have had little effect upon curbing any behavior given the propensity to ingest other types/amount of off the wall substance he would seek after on his own.
This prosecutor was out for a kill of her own and weaved a story that would appeal to those who would have a tendency to be emotionally taken in by painting this situation as that of an unfit and distraught mother who lost it in her effort to discipline her child. Unfortunately, the jurors were made up by those who we ourselves can plainly see were not convinced in their own minds but went along just to make sure this mother could not or would not be set free to go home. Justice was not served, IMO
My prayer is for the truth to come out and proper justice be done.
In my experiences with the legal system…..I don’t have a high view of attorneys in general.Telling lies in court is the normative for prosecutors and defence attorneys in the American legal justice system.
When you think that you are right, you could be wrong…
When you think that you are wrong, you could be right…
Things are never what they at first appear to be.
I don’t know enough either but it seems at first glance that a case of outright child abuse went horribly wrong. Think Adrian peterson.
Manslaughter probably not
Child abuse and negligent homocide..
More than likely. But we will let the courts work it out and pray for all involved.
Mike – your first glance is mistaken. Do what BD did – look at the 20/20 investigation, get the facts, and then give an informed assessment.
Friend of Hannah – that was kind of harsh toward Mike.
You have been a bit harsh of anyone who shares any doubt in Hannahs side of the story.
I reviewed the court documents for the appeal. Observations made by BD and myself were nearly spot on. Would do well for others to do this also. Much evidence was not submitted by the prosecution and doctor that would have freed her, no doubt. Quite detailed in court’s transcript.
Friend of Hannah ‘ s
I understand where you my be coming from but neither of us was actually there to witness the actions, abuse or negligence. That’s why I said I don’t know enough but would leave the judgement to th ore courts and those with more information.
Not interested in pouring over court docs or pretending to be able to do their jobs for them.
Best I can offer is prayer for all those involved and for truth and justice to prevail.
I’d appreciate it more I’d your comments were less personal attack and more “thank you for the prayer”
I was not attacking anyone. Asking someone who commented that they were just drawing a conclusion on what they wrote was “at first glance” to come back after they watched the TV investigation and could make an educated response – is not attacking. Wow – some real thin skin here.
“No thinking human being could look at this story and not sympathize with her.”
“Texas is known for their ignorant juries and corrupt judges.”
“..get the facts, and then give an informed assessment.
FoH – No grace from those comments.
Then you act surprised when you’re called out on your comments?
Hannah lost 5 years
Hannah was grieving the loss of a son and she got blamed…
Hannah lived every day with the agony of false accusation…
Hannah was caricatured horribly by prosecutors who suppressed evidence…
Hannah should be exonerated not just freed…
Hannah’s case should scare you to death…
Hannah’s case keeps the reporter up at night… Do you know how powerful that is? I do not have the evidence but that reporter does… by the way they absolutely charged her wrongly not one ounce of proof of intent was in evidence
Thanks once again BD. Now you know why I am sensitive to the continuation of armchair critics of this saintly woman. I suffered with her from a distance since I last saw her before the trial began and hugged her, believing fully that this thing would not go anywhere. I’ve wept at every turn over these years. I am so happy that she is back with her family that never gave up on her. All Hannah would say is that God must have wanted her where He put her. She started up a Bible study right away in the prison and kept it up to the very end, leading many inmates to Jesus. Her reward in heaven will be great.
Tonight’s 20/20 is doing a tribute to Hannah right now — end of the program. They are celebrating her.
Actually it was a preview of next week -so catch up final chapter (hopefully) on 20/20 next week.
Friend of Hannah……we ALL need friends like you in our lives.
God bless you.
by the way,
Even if she was guilty of negligent homicide, ie the boy died due to her negligence in the brand of punishment (zatarans in the sippy cup? tobasco on the tongue of a toddler?)and not following up on his consumption of all that salt (even if she didn’t know WHAT he consumed in the pantry, could have taken him to hospital or called poison control) …
I don’t think she should be retried and she probably should not have been sentenced to life in prison. (7yrs is a long time and seems to me sentence served).
and she probably shouldn’t be celebrated. she’s not a martyr for her faith. she’s probably someone who made a horrible mistake and has now paid the consequences of her negligence, both with the life of her foster son, and the last 7years of her and her family’s lives.
but that’s just my opinion. agree or disagree, doesn’t matter to me.