Deasia Watkins, 20, of College Hill, Cincinnati, appeared in court Thursday morning at the Hamilton County Common Pleas Court and pleaded “not guilty” in the death of her 3-month-old daughter, Jayniah Watkins, who she is accused of beheading.
She was indicted on Wednesday for aggravated murder charges, which guarantees Watkins’ exemption from the death penalty if is she is found guilty of beheading her daughter; 20 years to life behind prison bars is what she could face.
On March 16, College Hill police responded to a 911 call at a home belonging to Watkins’ aunt. Upon arrival, police discovered Watkins lying in bed, drenched in blood while her infant daughter lay beheaded on the kitchen counter.
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Hamilton county police immediately placed Watkins under arrest.
Prior to Watkins’ apprehension, she was ordered to stay away from her daughter because she wasn’t mentally stable, which is why the 3-month-old infant was left in the care of her aunt.
After giving birth, Watkins was prevented from seeing her daughter for 72 hours because she displayed erratic behavior, which led to her diagnosis, postpartum psychosis, and she was given medication.
Doctors say that Watson was to never come in contact with her daughter unless she was taking the prescription; otherwise, she’d be a threat to her child.
Julie Wilson, a spokeswoman for prosecutor Joe Deters, said, “The aunt was given specific instructions that neither mother or father could have contact with the baby at this time or reside in the home.”
“Imminent risk of harm exists if the child returns to her surroundings,” Judge Elisa Murphy said.
After performing an autopsy on the infant child, College Hill medical examiner Dr. Lakshmi Sammarco concluded that the 3-month-old baby was decapitated due to multiple stable wounds – an aggregate of 15 – to the neck area. The infant also suffered a fractured arm prior to her death.
Investigators say Watkins used a chef’s knife to execute the beheading.
“These are images that will be indelibly marked in my memory,” stated Sammarco.
Watkins’ defense attorney, Norm Aubin, claims that due to her mental state, she is not viable to stand trial.
“Right now I think she’s very ill. I don’t really think she understands what’s going on. I don’t think, I know she doesn’t understand what she has been charged with and I’m not really sure she understands what she did.
“I haven’t had as much time with her – as much as the people at the Justice Center. They obviously think she’s sick because they can’t hold her. They simply can’t treat her there or take care of her there so that’s why she’s going to be moved to Twin Valley.”
A competency hearing is impending.
Watkins is currently being held at the Hamilton County jail on a set bond at $5 million. An initial bond was set at $500,000, but during a court hearing, Judge Charles Kubicki increased her bond.
Within a few days, Watson will be transferred to a mental facility where she will undergo treatment.
[Image courtesy of Michael Coghlan/Flickr]