Last 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