Mom Kills One of Her Twin Babies: Does She Have Your Sympathy?

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empty cribLast year, Utah resident Jewell Hendricks was convicted of murdering her 2-month-old son, Robert. She smothered her baby with a sleeping bag, then sat on him for hours back in January 2010. The infant died of blunt force trauma and suffocation. Hendricks claims that she did it because she only wanted one baby, not two. Robert's twin Daniel was Hendricks' favorite of the two, so she decided to spare him and kill Robert in order to ease her emotional and financial stress.

Hendricks' sentencing is coming up on September 9 and her defense attorneys plan on pleading that she has the mental capacity of a 12-year-old and should only serve 15 years out of the possible lifetime prison sentence.

I don't know about you, but I don't know many 12-year-olds who think killing a baby is OK.

In fact, I would argue that even a 6-year-old would know right from wrong when presented with the option of murdering a young one. It's clear that Hendricks is mentally ill, but I don't think comparing her to sixth graders is doing any favors to our nation's batch of pre-teens.

The murder was so merciless that court documents show that Robert had a skull fracture, bruising on the head and arms, a broken collarbone, and was bleeding from one eye. Hendricks said she just couldn't take the sound of him crying anymore, and "hugged" him until he stopped. Stopped for good.

The twins were born prematurely, which cannot be easy to deal with. And at 27 years old and with possible mental deficiencies, it might have been so overwhelming that Hendricks couldn't find a way out. Her husband (mmhmm, she's married) was overheard weeping in the courtroom. He insists Robert's death was an accident, which just seems totally delusional. I wonder if he's culpable at all for Robert's death. Couldn't he have seen Hendricks was at her breaking point?

The surviving twin, Daniel, was adopted after the Hendricks' signed over their parental rights.

I've never been a mother to preemie twin boys, but I can imagine that it would be extremely stressful. Being a new mother has got to be one of the hardest jobs on the planet, and Hendricks' case just goes to show that if you're not 100 percent with it, you can buckle under the pressure. I think Hendricks deserves to suffer the consequences of her heinous crime, but can you relate to her anguish, stress, and frustration of being a new parent? Of course you would never harm your baby, but ...

Do you have any sympathy for Hendricks?


Photo via Liz/Flickr

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Melis... Melissa042807

I wouldn't go as far as "sympathy". Yes, being a new parent is stressful. I can relate to that simple fact. There have been times when I have snapped and thrown a jumping up and down crying fit. But I have never, ever harmed my child. Ever. That, I cannot relate to, and therefore I do not have sympathy for her.


I'm not a psychiatrist and even if I were, I don't know this woman so I'm not going to make too many assumptions about her mental health or lack thereof, or say whether or not her sentencing is fair based on said mental health. That decision should be the job of a professional. But my opinion is that she should never have children again.

hotic... hoticedcoffee

Not an ounce.  I cannot muster sympathy for a parent who kills their child, regardless of mental deficiency, altered state of mind, or whatever other 'extenuating circumstance' a defense attorney can come up with.  The only justice I see fit for her is to die the same way she killed her kid - so anything less than being beaten, smothered, and sat on, is in my opinion, a benevolent death.

mommix4 mommix4

My daughter is 12 and even she would never smother then sit on a baby to kill it. Come on my 5yr old dd knows you don't do that. Poor baby boy I'm glad she doesn't have the other one still.

Cheryl_M Cheryl_M

I agree with Melissa on this one...she shouldn't be allowed to have more children.


Why is it that so many women (many who are married) aren't getting the help they need when they are taking on what is undoubtedly the most difficult job in the world? I sure as hell don't get it from my husband of his own volition, but once I get in his face and scream for a few, he contributes more. Maybe we need to look at the HomeEq classes taught in junior high and high school. If men are that clueless to how their wives are feeling, something is amiss. Another thing to consider...possibly ensuring at least one counseling session with new parents (while at the hospital) to ensure they've got a support system in place. If there isn't friends or family, hospital staff could point them in the direction of support groups.

nonmember avatar Anon

She probably heard that feminists consider it just fine to kill a twin before its due date, and thought, what difference does it make that this child has been in contact with room air for 2 months? Frankly I don't see how one "choice" is any more moral than the other. Her motives are exactly the same - I only want one child so the child has no right to live.

nonmember avatar Candi

She makes me SICK! I am the mother of twins who were born premature and one with birth defects and it would never cross my mind to have a favorite let alone chose one to kill!! She's a horrible awful person

mamad... mamadismay

I am a single mother and I am not going to lie being a mom is very stressful but when I get to the point that I just cant take it anymore I set my son down in a safe place for example his jumper or on the bed, I shut the door to whatever room he is in and I let him throw his fit. I do breathing exercises or have my aunt, dad, brother, or friend watch him while I go for a walk. I NEVER think of harming my son, in fact when I am that overwhelmed I just kiss him more and try to make him laugh because I know the second he starts to feel better so will I. I have no sympathy nor compassion for this MONSTER and I hope she gets what she deserves.

Princ... PrincessGemini

I have no sympathy for this woman at all. Like others have said, a 5 y/o would know right from wrong when it comes to murdering another human being, let alone a 2 month old baby. I don't have twins and my son wasn't a preemie, so I can't imagine how hard that must be, but come on...you don't just go around killing your babies, your own flesh and blood, every time things get a little hard to deal with or stressful. She should have reached out, found some help if she was feeling to overwhelmed with two babies. Maybe have one adopted out, but to kill an innocent child like that simply because it was "to hard" is no excuse. Being a parent isn't supposed to be easy, its going to be hard whether you have one baby or multiples. I'm sure there were warning signs before she murdered her son, her husband should have got her some help. I think 15 years is to short for what she has done. No child deserves to die at the hands of their own mother, the very person who brought them into this world and is supposed to protect them. I admit that when DS was an infant and wouldn't stop crying I would get so overwhelmed that I just wanted to hide in a room by myself, but never once did I consider physically harming him to make him be quiet. I am glad though that the surviving twin has been adopted, hopefully now he will have a long and happy life. What if the mother had decided she didn't want children at all because it was to hard or whatever other reason and decided to kill him too?

nonmember avatar Shelly

I will never have sympathy for child killers.

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