A Texas woman will spend the next 40 years in prison for the hot car deaths of her two children, and a judge berated her in court.
Amanda Hawkins, 20, was sentenced Dec. 12 after a day of testimony in Kerr County. She pleaded guilty to felony counts of abandoning or endangering a child causing imminent danger of death, bodily injury, and two counts of injury to a child, reported Hill Country Breaking News.
Two toddler girls die a ‘slow painful death’ after mom leaves them in hot car while she parties, has sex with underage boy [Update]
“Those precious little girls would still be here today if this had not happened,” said Judge N. Keith Williams, according to the news website.
“The most compelling piece of evidence was the slow and painful deaths these children endured—with cramps, headaches, seizures, anxiety, and wondering ‘Where’s mommy,'” said Williams, according to The Associated Press.
“People in our community take better care of their pets than you took care of your kids,” Williams told Hawkins in court.
In June 2017, then-19-year-old Hawkins drove her daughter Brynn Hawkins, 1, and daughter, Addyson Overgard-Eddy, 2, to her friend’s house. She left them in the car overnight, where they succumbed to heat while she was inside the air-conditioned home with her friends, officials said.
Temperatures were summer-like and in the high 80s during the day.
Someone heard the girls crying and someone in the home asked her if they wanted to come inside. Hawkins reportedly said, “They’ll cry themselves to sleep,’ ” Kerr County Sheriff W.R. “Rusty” Hierholzer stated, according to a prior Epoch Times report.
Hawkins was inside a barn smoking marijuana with her friends, according to Hill Country Breaking News.
The report said Kevin Franke, then 16, slept inside the SUV while the children were there because there was no room to sleep inside. But the next day, he rolled up the windows and turned off the car’s engine before going inside. The man claimed he didn’t know there were girls inside.
“My client has maintained all along that he was not aware the young girls were sitting in the back of the vehicle … and did not hear any noise from these girls,” his defense attorney, Joe Gonzales, said. “This is nothing more than accidental deaths that occurred because their mother put the girls in that situation.”
The girls were found unresponsive hours later. Hawkins then rushed them to a hospital, but she claimed they collapsed at a park outing. The girls died the next day in a San Antonio-area hospital, MySanAntonio reported.
“This is by far the most horrific case of child endangerment that I have seen in the 37 years that I have been in law enforcement,” Sheriff Hierholzer said in a statement after the woman was arrested, People reported. “I will accept whatever the punishment may be,” Hawkins said before her sentencing. “There are no excuses for what I did.”
Judge Williams accused Hawkins of lying during the incident and after the fact, the People report stated.
Franke, now 18, was also arrested in the case, and he pleaded not guilty to two counts of manslaughter, two counts of injury to a child, and two counts of child endangerment. His trial is slated for January. The charges were increased to two counts of murder, replacing the manslaughter charges.