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Monday, October 23, 2023

The Hannah Overton Murder Case

     Andrew Burd was born in Corpus Christi, Texas on July 28, 2002. The 16-year-old girl who gave birth to him had used, during her pregnancy, meth, crack cocaine, LSD and marijuana. The expectant mother had also consumed alcohol, took Xanax and smoked cigarettes. The baby's 17-year-old father worked for a traveling carnival. This infant should have been taken from his unfit parents at birth.

     Andrew was a year old when his mother took him to an emergency room with a broken arm. A doctor suspected child abuse and called Child Protective Services (CPS). Nothing came of the CPS investigation and the baby was returned to his mother. Eventually, after repeated evidence of child abuse, CPS agents, on the grounds that Andrew was in "immediate danger" took him from his young parents. The agency placed the two and a half-year-old toddler into foster care where he was shuffled from one home to another.

     In 2006 Corpus Christi residents Larry and Hannah Overton heard about Andrew Burd through their evangelical nondenominational church Calvary Chapel of the Coastlands. The couple resided in a modest ranch-style house with their four young children. Twenty-nine-year-old Hannah was six months pregnant at the time. Although the family struggled financially from what Larry Overton earned as a landscape lighting installer the couple expressed interest in adopting Andrew.

     In 1984, when Hannah Overton was seven-years-old, her father, Bennie Saenz, an evangelical preacher, was arrested and charged with murder. Convicted of bludgeoning a 16-year-old girl to death then dumping her body along the shore of Padre Island, the Corpus Christi preacher went to prison for 23 years. 

     Before her marriage to Larry, Hannah worked as a volunteer in an orphanage in Reynosa, Mexico across the border from Corpus Christi. As a married couple Larry and Hannah had performed missionary work for their church. By all accounts they were decent people, loving parents who had never been in trouble with the authorities. Moreover, neither Larry or Hannah had a history of mental illness.

     In the spring of 2006 Andrew Burd joined the Overton family on a six-month probationary basis. On October 2, 2006, not long after the official adoption the four-year-old became suddenly ill. He began vomiting and struggled with his breathing. Hannah, instead of immediately calling 911, telephoned Larry at work. He rushed home. When Andrew became unresponsive the Overtons rushed him to a nearby urgent care clinic. When nurses at the clinic failed to revive Andrew with CPR, paramedics transported the boy to Corpus Christi's Driscoll Hospital.

     Medical personnel at the urgent care clinic, suspicious of child abuse, notified the police shortly after Andrew was admitted to the hospital. Within hours of Andrew's hospitalization police with the Corpus Christi Police Department searched the Overton residence.

     In the evening of October 3, 2006, Andrew Burd died. Dr. Ray Fernandez, the Nueces County Medical Examiner, performed the autopsy. The forensic pathologist, finding some bleeding of the brain, external scratches and bruises and twice the level of sodium in the dead child's blood, ruled the manner of death homicide. Dr. Fernandez identified the boy's cause of death as "acute sodium toxicity with blunt force trauma as a contributing factor." (Dr. Fernandez failed to note that the brain hemorrhaging could have been caused by the sodium content in Andrew's blood.)

     Child Protection Services agents took the other Overton children out of their home and placed them with relatives. (Eventually the children would be placed under the care of Hannah Overton's mother.) A few days after Andrew Burd's death, Corpus Christi detective Michael Hess, an investigator who specialized in child abuse cases, interrogated Hannah Overton at the police station. She had agreed to be questioned without the presence of counsel.

     Detective Hess made it clear that he believed that Hannah, feeling overburdened with so many young children had murdered her adopted son. "I don't see," he said, "what caused the trauma to the brain. I don't see what caused the salt content. Did you at any time strike him?" (At this point, Hannah Overton should have asked for an attorney.)

     The five-hour grilling at the police station ended without a confession. In his report, Detective Hess wrote: "It should be noted that during the entire conversation (conversation?) Hannah Overton showed no emotion." Notwithstanding Hannah Overton's insistence that she had done nothing to harm her adopted son, Nueces County Assistant District Attorney Sandra Eastwood, a child protection crusader, charged the mother of five (she had since had her baby) with capital murder. Under Texas law, if convicted as charged Hannah Overton faced life in prison without the chance of parole.

     The televised Hannah Overton murder trial got underway in Corpus Christi in August 2007. Prosecutor Eastwood, in her opening remarks to the jury, said, "We don't know precisely how she [the defendant] got [the salt] down Andrew, but we know that he [the child] was very, very, obedient."

     Dr. Ray Fernandez, the Nueces County Medical Examiner testified that he had seen "burn-like scarring" on Andrew's arm that had likely been caused by "contact with a hot surface." Judge Jose Longoria had ruled that Dr. Fernandez could not testify that blunt force trauma had contributed to Andrew's death. The judge, due to insufficient scientific evidence to back up this part of the pathologist's report, ruled it inadmissible.)

     Dr. Alexander Rotta, a pediatric critical care specialist from Indianapolis, Indiana, testified that "There were so many bruises and scratches [on Andrew's body] that it would be difficult to describe them all." Dr. Rotta told the jurors that the sodium content in Andrew's blood amounted to six teaspoons of salt. In the doctor's expert opinion Andrew Burd's death had not been accidental.

     After Detective Michael Hess played a video of the defendant's interrogation, one of the nurses who had performed CPR on Andrew at the urgent care clinic testified that the defendant, during the emergency did not behave like a panic-stricken parent. In fact, she often had a smile on her face. Two other urgent care clinic employees took the stand and gave similar testimony. One of these witnesses said that she heard the defendant tell someone at the clinic that the boy had stopped breathing after he had been "punished." (While children are "punished" all the time, jurors probably interpreted this comment as evidence of child abuse.)

     At the close of the state's case defense attorneys David Jones and Chris Pinedo brought Harvard educated forensic pathologist Dr. Judy Melinek to the stand. Dr. Melinek identified the sores on Andrew's body as being consistent with mosquito bites that had been excessively scratched. The witness, on the issue of  how all of that sodium had entered Andrew's system, said that in all probability the child suffered from a rare eating disorder called pica. Children with this malady have an uncontrollable desire to consume inappropriate substances such as salt.

     Hannah Overton, who took the stand on her own behalf, did not come off as a convincing or even sympathetic witness. Her attorneys felt they had no choice but to put her on the stand. At this stage of the trial, given the testimony of the medical examiner, the pediatrician from Indiana and the urgent care clinic personnel, the jurors had probably made up their minds.

     The three-week trial came to an end when the jury, after deliberating eleven hours, found Hannah Overton guilty of capital murder. (She would eventually be sent to the maximum security women's prison outside of Waco, Texas.) Overton's attorneys, shortly after the verdict polled the jury. The defense attorneys were stunned to learn that all of the jurors had found the defendant guilty because she had not sought immediate medical help after her son's injury. None of the jurors had been convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant had poisoned her child with salt.

     Two days after the guilty verdict, Dr. Edgar Cortes, the emergency room physician on duty at Driscoll Hospital the day Andrew arrived and the pediatrician who had resuscitated the patient before he was sent to the intensive care unit, wrote a letter to the Overton defense team. Dr. Cortes informed the lawyers that while he had been scheduled to testify for the prosecution, prosecutor Sandra Eastwood never called him to the stand. The doctor wasn't called because in his opinion Andrew Burd's death had been accidental. Dr. Cortes, had he taken the stand, would have testified that Andrew had been a hyperactive child who suffered from an autism spectrum disorder. (Dr. Cortes had studied Andrew's medical records.) This would account for the boy's inappropriate eating habits, obsessive scratching and picking, and head banging.

     In the months following the guilty verdict three prominent appellate attorneys--Cynthia Orr, John Raley and Gerry Goldstein--took an interest in the Overton case. The attorneys filed an appeal alleging newly discovered exonerating evidence, ineffective legal representation at trial and the withholding of exculpatory evidence from the defense by prosecutor Sandra Eastwood.

     In 2009 the Texas Circuit Court of Criminal Appeals upheld the Overton capital murder conviction. The justices found no proof that the state had known of Dr. Edgar Cortes' cause and manner of death opinion. The appellate judges also rejected the newly discovered evidence and ineffective counsel claims.

     In the spring of 2010 the Overton appellate team petitioned for the right to have access to the prosecution's file on the case. Prior to the trial prosecutor Eastwood, when asked by defense attorneys for access to documents related to Andrew's stomach contents, claimed that such a report didn't exist. The appellate attorneys, when they were given the opportunity to examine the prosecution's file found the gastric contents report. According to this document Andrew's stomach contents did not reveal elevated amounts of salt when he arrived at the urgent care clinic.

     Hannah Overton's appellate team also learned that prosecutor Eastwood had scheduled, for testimony, Dr. Michael Moritz, the clinical director of pediatric nephrology at the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. Dr. Moritz specialized in children's kidney diseases and in 2007 had published a paper on accidental child salt poisoning cases. Dr. Moritz had found that a vast majority of these cases involved boys between the age of one and six. Moreover, they had all had been in foster care or were from abusive homes. All of these boys suffered from the eating disorder, pica.

     Dr. Moritz told the appellate team that he had waited days in the Corpus Christi courthouse for his turn to take the stand. When the doctor told prosecutor Eastwood that he had to return to Pittsburgh she arranged for a video deposition that because of time was not completed. Had he taken the stand Dr. Moritz would have testified that in his expert opinion Andrew's death had been accidental.

     Appellate attorney Cynthia Orr, about the time of the Dr. Moritz revelation, received a letter from Anna Jimenez, the former Nueces County prosecutor who had worked on the Overton case with Sandra Eastwood. Regarding whether Eastwood had withheld exculpatory evidence from the defense, Jimenez wrote: "I fear she [Eastwood] may have purposely withheld evidence that may have been favorable to Hannah Overton's defense.

     In April 2011 Cynthia Orr petitioned the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals for an evidentiary hearing on the Overton case. Ten months later, in February 2012, appellate judge Cathy Cochran ordered the Corpus Christi trial court judge to hold such a proceeding to entertain the appellate team's assertion that Hanna Overton, an innocent person, had been wrongfully convicted of murder.

     The evidentiary hearing began on April 24, 2012. Chris Pinedo, one of Overton's trial attorneys, took the stand. Pinedo testified that he had asked prosecutor Sandra Eastwood for a sample of Andrew's gastric contents that had been acquired by Driscoll Hospital personnel. Attorney Pinedo wanted to have an independent scientist analyze this evidence for sodium content. The defense attorney was told that such evidence did not exist. Because he acquired photographs of the stomach contents that had been taken at the Nueces County Medical Examiner's Office, attorney Pinedo knew that he had been lied to.

    Forensic pathologist Dr. Judy Melinek testified that because Neuces County medical examiner, Dr. Ray Fernandez, had failed to adequately analyze Andrew's hypothalamous and pituitary glands, his cause and manner of death conclusions were questionable.

     Dr. Edgar Cortes, the emergency medicine pediatrician who had attended to Andrew at Driscoll Hospital before the boy's death took the stand and described how he had waited at the courthouse to testify as a prosecution witness. "I told Assistant District Attorney Sandra Eastwood, 'I hope you're going to come forward with some other [homicide] charge than capital murder because I don't think this was capital murder.' " When asked by attorney Orr why prosecutor Eastwood did not put him on the stand Dr. Cortes said, "I felt like the prosecution had its own theory about what happened." (That is fine as long as the prosecution's theory is backed up by proof beyond a reasonable doubt.)

     Dr. Michael Moritz, the clinical director of pediatric nephrology at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, one of the nation's leading experts on salt poisoning, took the stand on day two of the Overton evidentiary hearing. Dr. Moritz said he believed that if Andrew Burd had ingested a lethal dose of salt he had fed it to himself. The doctor testified that intentional, force-fed salt poisoning was extremely rare.

     Day three of the Overton hearing featured the testimony of former prosecutor Sandra Eastwood. In 2010 Eastwood had been fired from the Nueces County District Attorney's office after she had informed the district attorney that she had been romantically involved with a sex offender. During the Overton trial in 2007, Eastwood, an alcoholic, had been functioning under the influence of alcohol and prescription diet pills. Her responses to Cynthia Orr's questions were vague, confusing and often contradictory. The witness said that her drinking and pill taking had destroyed her memory of the Overton case. As a witness Sandra Eastwood came off more pathetic than evil.

     Eastwood's former assistant in the Overton case, Anna Jimenez, followed her to the stand. According to Jimenez, Eastwood had made the following comment to her: "I will do anything to win this case." Jimenez testified that in her opinion Sandra Eastwood's behavior during the Overton murder trial was "so far out." The witness testified further that she believed that Hannah Overton should have been charged with a lesser homicide offense. Regarding Eastwood's claim that the boy's gastric contents evidence did not exist, Jimenez said, "She is not truthful."

     On the sixth and final day of the Overton evidentiary proceeding, David Jones, one of Overton's trial attorneys, broke down on the stand. "I failed miserably," he said. "There's probably not a day since this verdict that I don't regret spending more time on this case. I should have done more."

     On June 1, 2012, a month after the conclusion of the Overton hearing, District Court Judge Jose Longoria issued his recommendation to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. In a 14-page opinion Judge Longoria explained why he saw no new evidence that would have altered the outcome of Overton's murder trial. "The court," he wrote, "concludes that all of the supposedly newly discovered evidence actually was clearly known and discussed at the time of the trial."

     Hannah Overton's appellate team, as well as a large group of people who believed she was an innocent mother who had been railroaded into prison by an overzealous prosecutor, were stunned by Judge Longoria's opinion. The imprisoned woman's fate rested with the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. In making their decision on whether or not to grant Overton a new trial, the appeals court justices were not bound by District Court Judge Longoria's recommendation.

     On September 18, 2014, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals voted 7 to 2 to grant Hannah Overton a new trial. The appellate judges cited problems associated with prosecutor Sandra Eastwood and criticized Overton's trial attorneys for not calling to the stand a salt poisoning expert.

     The Nueces County District Attorney, after losing the appeal, had four options. He could charge Overton again with capital murder, file lesser charges against her, offer a plea deal or simply dismiss the case. The prosecutor chose to try Overton again for capital murder.

     On December 16, 2014 a Nueces County judge set Overton's bond at $50,000. She posted her bail and was released from prison to await her second trial.

     In February 2016 Hannah and Larry Overton appeared on an episode of the Dr. Phil Show. The couple, in response to pointed questions by the host, denied intentionally poisoning Andrew or delaying his emergency medical care. They also denied abusing the boy. The show featured portions of the video taped police interrogation of Hannah that showed her laughing several times during the detective's questioning. She explained that it was nervous laughter. In defending what appeared to be examples of harsh treatment of Andrew, the couple pointed out that he had been an extremely difficult child to raise. Dr. Phil did not seem convinced the Overtons had been good to the boy, asking them if they had treated him worse than their biological children.

     In May 2017, Nueces County District Attorney Mark Gonzales dropped the murder charge against Hannah Overton and declared her innocent in the death of her four-year-old son. Because she had been wrongfully convicted and behind bars for seven years, the Texas comptroller, on March 7, 2018, informed Overton that she would receive a check from the state in the amount of $573,333.33.


  1. This is an excellent overview of the Overton case. Many thanks! We need more people to take an interest in this miscarriage of justice.

  2. I feel in my heart Hannah is innocent. My own daughter is also serving time in prison for something she did not do - amazing how her story and Hannah's story are so very similar - total abuse of power from the prosecutors and the judge. We continue to pray for these innocent women and know they will someday go home to their families.

    1. all that zanex washed down with a 5th of whiskey the prosecutor took each night helped her sleep very well!
      May she burn in hell a very VERY long time.
      Hannah was unfairly charged.

  3. Thank you for keeping this story in the public eye. I check every couple of months to see if anything new has happened in this poor woman's case. It seems a true miscarriage of justice.
    On another note, Corpus Christi does not share a border with Mexico, but it does share a border with the Gulf of Mexico. Reynosa is across from McAllen, Tx and Hidalgo, Tx. No offense intended just f.y.i. Thanks again for the important article.

  4. i just saw this story on Dateline-- i do not believe this woman is guilty and I believe the prosecutor is an aggressive barracuda who can't admit she made a mistake. I hope she eventually wins her appeals. I am a follower of true crime and more often than not I am on the side of the prosecution, but no in this case. this is a miscarriage of justice.

    1. Eventually win her appeals? No!!! Her appeals should be won Now. This woman does not deserve to be in prison one minute longer.

    2. I totally agree with the above two replies as well as the others which support that HANNA OVERTON IS NOT GUILTY! I once was called as a prospective juror to a case in which the defendant had two convictions of DWI and this was this individual's third DWI and in this case probation was not an option if this person was found guilty. The judge, prior to selecting jurors, severely warned all of us against having a biased opinion as to whether this person was guilty or not guilty, prior to hearing this case in a trial, and should one of the jurors later found to have been biased in this person's conviction prior to the trial that this would cause this case to be declared a mistrial which would force the state of TX to have to set aside the findings of the jurors. Why was this law not applied in deciding the guilt or innocence of Larry and Hanna Overton. Obviously the Lead Prosecutor as well as all of the other prosecutors in this case did not want to fairly apply the law for the Overtons. Any other case handled like this case was handled would result in disciplinary action taken against the lead prosecutors as well as the other prosecutors Probably even to the point of de baring all of these individuals. The appeals court needs to take note and realize all of the injustice done to the Overtons and then release Hanna back to her family and church.

    3. I am replying and want to remain anonymous

    4. I had trouble from the beginning of this believing the foster mom was guilty...I am hoping that she really is innocent of all charges as she has been set free and earned recompense for time served away from her family.

  5. There is systemic collusion in this case. I wonder if Hannah ' s conviction is, in part, retribution for the murder committed by her father. Ignoring exculpatory evidence seems like politically influenced negligence. Is there a link between the judge or a high ranking Texas official and the person murdered by Hannah ' s father. There is an underlying scheme being perpetrated against Hannah.

  6. Sad sad sad. We can't trust our justice system. PATHETIC!

  7. My God, what can we do to help this poor family? This mom sits in jail while a psychopath like Casey Anthony literally gets away with murdering her baby!! What is this world coming to? People are just totally ignorant, absolutely no common sense. I just wish I knew how I could help this family.

  8. I too just saw this on Dateline this morning but had to leave for work before the end of the story so like all inquiring minds I searched the internet for anything. What an excellent blog here from Jim and I truly believe this woman is innocent. TX style of justice is more like injustice. How many convicted innocent people are getting freed from TX prisons in the last decade or more. Truly disgusting and what is worse, Longoria said there was no new evidence that wasn't discussed at trial? Was he sharing the same bottle of liquor with the fired prosecutor? I think so.

  9. I am beside myself that Hannah is still in prison. She is so obviously innocent. The Overton's account of what happened, or probably happened, to Andrew is entirely believable. What's the matter with juries these days? I am wondering whether The Innocence Project is involved with Hannah's case.

    1. Contact Mike Ware: ware@mikewarelaw.com
      The Innocent Project of Texas

  10. I don't believe this mother is guilty and I pray for her and her family. May she be released from prison one day soon. Miracles still happen.

  11. Hannah is guilty and is right where she should be. The church that defends her should be ashamed as they have a history of defending guilty murderers such as Hannah's father.

    1. Why do you believe she's guilty? What evidence do you have, other than the word of a alcohol addicted prosecution? You're the first, I've seen, to think she's guilty.

    2. I watched the story tonite on Dateline so sad I will always pray for them It seems like a mockery of justice. Like Jesus the Christ... his case was a mockery of justice to right? May Jesus continue to comfort them having been innocently convicted himself

    3. Unfortunately, a number of trolls follow suspected child abuse cases and are indifferent to the facts of the case. They simply see the death of a child. While the loss of Andrew is horrible, it is also horrible to imprison someone labelled with a crime they did not commit. It is about searching the facts of a case and understanding what leads to a proper decision. Hannah Overton may be guilty of not appreciating the "seriousness" od Andrew's condition because it wasn't something she was worried about. However, it is abundantly clear she is not guilty of the capital murder of this child. It has all been punishment enough. She should be home raising her own children instead of being a burden on my taxes. As well - to you who are quick to judge - think about being in this position yourself. You wouldn't wish blanket and false accusations to determine your guilt or innocence. Because I am not ashamed of my comments, I will sign my name. I used Anonymous because I don't want to set up an account. wjnorbom

    4. Texas has the highest number off children killed by parents or guardians.
      Parents are brutal punishing children.
      There is a BBC documental filmed in Texas.
      Christians excuse physical punishment.
      She is guilty to many bruises and cuts on the child.

    5. I am the mother of an autistic child; everything they described about Andrew--his pica, tantrums (meltdowns), head banging, feces smearing, scratches and sores from messing with bug bites, developmental delays--all clearly point to him having autism. We have to hide the salt from our son. He will get the shaker and shake it directly on his hand...he'd do this all day if we let him. It is blatantly obvious that Andrew overdosed on salt when she fell asleep + all the salty food they fed him ignorantly. Since they didn't even know he had autism or understand pica, it is normal that they wouldn't understand the risk of the foods he was eating or recognize the symptoms of salt toxicity. Thus is sad, but not criminal. What is criminal is that there were so many ignorant, uninformed people involved in this case, she didn't stand a chance.

    6. Sorry this child had no history in any other foster home of eating things he wasn't supposed to and no reports of him being autistic either.Why would he wait to kill himself with salt in there care but not in any of the other foster homes he was in??She is guilty

    7. I more-or-less agree with Mary. I don't think the jury returned the right verdict, though, given the evidence. It's my understanding (I'm from Corpus, have friends and neighbors that go/went to the same church and have listened to and read about this case for all these years) that to return a charge of guilty for capital murder, the jury was instructed that the prosecution had to prove beyond a reasonable doubt either:
      a) that she intentionally and maliciously fed Andrew the salt (most common theory is it was a spice mix like Lawry's, Tony Chachere's, or Old Bay as a punishment) with the intention and knowledge that it would kill him. And/or:
      b) after he was sick she intentionally delayed getting him medical attention, with the intent of letting him die.
      These are my own words, of course, based on what I've read and what I remember, but that was the gist.

      I just don't think there was enough evidence to prove either one. Even if former ADA Eastwood had withheld or twisted evidence to turn the case in her favor (which it, sadly, looks pretty clear that she did) it just didn't seem there was enough evidence to convict of capital murder.

      I, personally, find the theory that she fed Andrew some kind of seasoning spice as a punishment quite plausible. I find the theory that she either gave him this punishment so often in a short period, or lost her head and gave him an obscene amount of it quite plausible. I DON'T, however, think that if she did that, that she did it thinking, and hoping, that it would kill him. Once he was ill, I don't think she waited to get help in the hopes that he would die before she got to the clinic or to Driscoll. I DO think it's likely that she recklessly and cruelly gave Andrew the salt and that she made incredibly reckless choices once it was clear that he needed help. Criminally reckless. Intentional, premeditated murder? I really don't think so. But she killed him all the same.

    8. I also think she is guilty the child had no problems before....and if the child ate salt on his own ehy was there no mess or why did no one see him i eill never believe he ate salt on his own without making a mess...and why was his mattress outside amd hid fav sherts burned...i think she was overwhelmed and i think dhe wanted to punish him but ened up killing him then after giving him the salt to drink she did not seek medical care she called her husband instead becau she knew she had done something erong and was scared! Poor baby as for her no excuse for her she should be locked up for her actions and her continuous lies

    9. Guilty..this lady was laughing while explaining the observation she had just endure of watching a little boy die..this poor little boy was mirdered by this deformed lady with mental problems n very slothy brain..i can c right threw this whole thing...n she def killed him by being the nasty lady she hides well from all the rest of the world..shame on us for falling for her lies...im sorry andrew...

    10. Wow, where do I start? First, where is the irrefutable evidence that proves her guilt beyond reasonable doubt? There is none. Had you actually read court documents in their entirety & researched the case by gathering your information from a reputable source rather than what you "heard" you'd already know that. Drawing conclusions after seeing a news story a few minutes in length isn't research.
      This child DID have documented physical & psychological issues well before he was placed in the Overton's home. The child's pediatrician had been his physician BEFORE he became the Overton's foster child.
      Her "laughing"? Simply nervous laughter is the result of a psychological defense mechanism that people use to tell themselves that what they see is not as threatening as it appears.
      If you'd done your due diligence by researching this case, you'd also know that Hannah nor her husband were NOT allowed to visit Andrew. So neither of them were "watching a little boy die".
      Tell me how Hannah Overton is deformed? She has no history of any mental problems. What exactly is a "slothy brain"?!
      Finally, trying to communicate with you (a child) is quite difficult. Your poor English, horrible spelling & lack of punctuation, as well as proven lies you tout as facts, lead me to conclude you're functioning with an elementary education, at best! Run along now. You may return to the discussion when you grow up.

    11. I do not have a "slothy brain" so I have to agree with Beth. I do see why people are confused though as no report I could find explained what killed him. They say salt poisoning but then point at the report that showed no elevated salt levels in his vomit.

      But then I realized that his pica had caused him to ingest a large about of sodium over TIME... meaning the salt was already metabolized in his system before he ate the chili with seasoning. That's why he had salt in his system but not in his stomach.

      As for all the oddities, they made sense to me. We got hosed down in the yard all the time as kids... why create a mess in the bathroom that can be left outdoors? Burning the sheets seems odd but if the kid was obsessively freaking out over them I can understanding wanting to burn them so he can't go back to them later (Dad is assuming the boy is going to recover at this time). I live in the South, people burn all kinds of things, a common way to get rid of trash. Her laughter? Again, people have odd reactions to stress. The plywood bed? Why is that even a question? They didn't have a ton of money. When you're poor you "rig" what you need. Plywood has give to it, I'd think it would make a decent base for a bed.

      The prosecutor should be prosecuted for her handling of this case... in fact ALL prosecutors should be criminally charged when they deliberately disobey procedure and rules to benefit their case. Those rules are there for a reason... to insure fairness in the justice system.

    12. I was in prison with Hannah overton. There are many things that the public does not know about this case. the first thing is that Hannah did not intentionally kill the child...her neglect did. She had taken @ tylenol #4s and the truth is ,well, she was HIGH.Larry had the rest of the children with him because he did not feel like messing with Andrew. So, you have this child with an eating disorder and has already done numerous things over the last few nights,supposedly, then you take some pills that make you nod out and got to sleep high as a junky. The child was neglected and that is how he died. If the D.A. had charged her correctly she would not be free and on her way to getting 540.000$. Now that she has been declaired actually innocent...that will be her payday for letting that child die. Oh,and where did I get my information???From Hannah who is also a closet lesbian. Noone talks about that either. She had been in a sexual relationship with LARRY'S SISTER for a year. then when she started dating Larry on the side she told him catherine had been "molesting her" for all that time while she was trying to save her soul.By then she was having sex with Larry too.The Calvary temple is a cult and they stand behind their twisted members just like any other cult. Hannah is a liar,a manipulator and a straight up con artist. Look up Marshal Applewhite...that is her maternal grandfather and he is listed as one of the top 5 most dangerous cult leaders of all time. He convinced 40 people that if they killed themselves got would take them to Heaven;s gate. Yeah she was guily,just not what they convicted her of. oh,and none talks about how Larry plead guilty to a lesser charge. Good Job Texas. You screwed the pooch on one more thing.

  12. I've seen the justice for Hannah pages out there, and I was just wondering where is the justice for Andrew page? She is at the very least responsible for medical neglect of a child (who in their right mind doesn't call 911 for an unresponsive child!?!), at most she is an abusive (putting spices in you child's sippy cup is not healthy, normal parenting, no matter your reason!) murderer. Either way, she needs to be in jail.

    1. If this is in fact what occurred, then don't you believe she has been punished enough? Andrew had some serious issues prior to coming into this home. Do we punish every parent for their children stealing food from the closet? What about the children who use guns to kill their siblings? Or the accidental poisonings? We must be very careful what we label a capital murder. It only takes a few moments of turning your back - and a child can fall into a pool, drown in a toilet, run off in a shopping mall. I defy any parent to say they are perfect in every way. Sorry - but there simply isn`t enough evidence to convict for murder. I am pleased she has been granted a retrial. wnorbom

    2. the definition of capital murder is statutorily defined. Prosecutors do not just arbitrarily decide to charge for cap murder, the facts have to fit the statute. I believe Overton is guilty. She is a horrible person and no matter what any DA says or does in order to avoid an expensive lawsuit, she was guilty or murdering and breaking the spirit of a small child. It simple does not get more despicable than that. You can put aside a lot of evidence in this case about whether or not she deliberately poisoned Andrew, or whether she and her husband were responsible for his skull fracture. The jury was polled after their verdict and indicated that they could not come to a conclusion as to whether or not she meant to poison him. What they did agree on is that she deliberately refused to get Andrew medical attention, which would certainly have saved his life. And for all you idiots and moraly bereft people who support that monstrous woman, answer this. If you kid vomited, fell on the floor and cracked his skull and was unresponsive on the COLD HARD FLOOR, would you allow him to lay there for hours, or would you call 911? Because that is what Overton did. While Andrew was unconscious, unresponsive and clearly struggling, she went next door to chat with neighbors, and went about her day. Failure to act to protect a child is a crime and that is why Overton ended up in prison.

  13. There is no miscarriage of justice and nobodies "heart" should matter here. Our justice system is unjust, period! What we hail as the pinnacle of justice - the jury system - is a farce in a country in which 50% write "should of" and "would of" and 30% cannot point to their own country/state on globe. Each time you agree to a jury trial, you are given your live over to a group of people who has nothing better to do and/or was to stupid to get out of it.

    You only have to look around here. Half the people cannot even muster the attention span it takes to scroll down the page - like this talking monkey...

    Anonymous wrote "[...] who in their right mind doesn't call 911 for an unresponsive child [...]", when in fact the article VERY CLERALY stated: "Hannah, instead of immediately calling 911, telephoned Larry at work. He rushed home. When Andrew became unresponsive, the Overtons rushed him to a nearby urgent care clinic."

    Those are the kind of people that end up juries, with their warped sense of justice and their inability to comprehend simple facts.

    There was not a shred of actual ("direct") evidence in this case and this women was - like so many - convicted on an assumption of guilt and the lack of an alternate theory.

    How do you people think that 2% of the population end up in the penal system? Because they're all criminals, or because they all end up caught in the claws of the most defective and self-glorifying injustice system of the civilized world?

    1. Hannah didn't immediately call 911 - she didn't call at all! With calling her husband and waiting for him to come home to then take Andrew to an urgent care, not even an actual hospital, paramedics could have been treating him already if she had just called 911 first.

      Wait for the husband
      Go to urgent care
      Finally to a hospital - how long did all that delay his treatment????

      She admitted giving him Cajun spice in his water and putting hot pepper flakes on her children's tongues because the pastor said to. His room was in terrible condition and her own children said they watched Andrew on camera until he fell asleep.

      I think Andrew needed a lot more help than this couple could provide but they wanted to look so goody-goody to their church by adopting him that they didn't want to admit it. Shameful.

  14. Andrew, he is the one we must remember. From the time this poor little boy was born he lived through hell on earth. Let's all think about him during this time of celebrating Hannah's release from prison. This poor child had too many ignorant, and neglectful adults in his young life, and that is the true tragedy here.

  15. You left out the burning of his favourite sheets and him sleeping on wooden bed base, taking him to McDonald's but not letting him eat while the rest of the family eat. I believe they parented in an abusive way which has been legitimised by Christian fundamentalists. She's not guilty of murder but neglect/abuse. I agree with others that she didn't seek help because of his marked body which revealed his previous punishments. Very sad that this poor boy was allowed to go to a home with such ignorant and outdated parenting.

    1. I fully agree with LeeAnn and others that she is guilty. As is the Father. I just watched them on Dr Phil. The mother only showed true tears and emotion when she talked of missing her bio children's birthdays! Not a year shown,over that poor little boy. Oh she's going back to prison to help women and promote the foundation she created. I would love to see the administrative fees on that foundation. My heart hurts for the fee horrible years that little Andrew lived.

    2. What are the sources of your information? I believe Hannah is guilty. I would just like to know this information you referenced in how they treated Andrew.

  16. This family touched my heart today on Dr. Phil. With everything they have been through:
    Death of their child
    Children taken from them
    Wrongfully imprisoned
    Another hearing
    Again disbelieved
    Again imprisoned,
    this family has had every reason to be bitter, yet I saw none. They remained humble and soft spoken.
    Thank you to Cynthia Orr for fighting so long and hard to right this injustice. Thank you to Dr. Edgar Cortes for taking the time to write a letter to the defense team. Thank you to the seven court justices of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals for hearing and actually listening to the facts.
    Even though it was ever so briefly discussed on the show today, what Hannah is doing for her previous inmates shows her depth of compassion. Altruism, sadly, is becoming a rarity. As she realizes, hope is something we all need.
    This family has demonstrated phenomenal grace, something some of the people who left comments here could learn.

  17. Shame on you for spewing this venom.

  18. Guilty period....taking a kid to mcdonalds n not letting him eat while the others did is discusting n all the proof u need to c that she is a sick women along with her wierd husband n alien like children..snuffing that gene pool out should of been top priority to our society..that poor boy suffered all his life ...he was in need of love no hate...he needed a break n some compasion..u cant fix only comfort love n support ...sad sad sad..my heart hurts for him not the sick husband n wife who r creepy n deserve the worst death..

  19. I raised 3 children and babysit many others in my life and it has NEVER occurred to me to give a 4 yo a drink with Zatarans seasoning in it?!?! How do you even come up with this idea? And burning sheets on a grill? Something clearly wrong with the Overton's mental processes. The child is dead as a direct result of neglectful and very questionable parenting. She gets no sympathy from me. Good christian, smh.

  20. I raised 3 children and baby sat many more over the years and NEVER has it occurred to me to give a 4 year old a drink with a spice mix (Zatarans) mixed in it. What kind of deranged mind even thinks up such a thing? To what purpose? Burning sheets on a grill, taking naps with 5 young children running around unsupervised, hosing a child down--these are not acceptable or normal parental practices. This poor child is dead as a direct result of the negligence and bizarre reactions by these so called good christian parents. Unbelievable how so many people are willing to accept the explanations from these clearly disturbed individuals.

  21. I saw Dr. Phil. I don't know if they were guilty or not. I do know that making a drink of Zataran's and water for a boy to drink is creepy. Her laughing in her police interrogation is very odd. Also, the wooden bed and burning the sheets on a BBQ grill is just plain loony. I would have probably convicted her too.

  22. I can understand why the capital murder charge was overturned. Its hard to prove she intentionally killed him. But she did not act as s mother should. Putting chili powder or Zatarans in his sippy cup. Making him sleep on plywood. Treating a wound with bleach when she was s former lvn. Calling her husband home from work when he was unresponsive . Then taking him to urgent care clinic instead of the hospital. Appearing to nurses at the clinic to be smiling and in good spirits while the child was on the verge of death. She may not be guilty beyond a reasonable doubt but she sure isn't innocent !!

    1. They did not have to prove intent on whether she meant to kill this innocent little child. All they had to prove is that she deliberately denied him medical care, when medical care would have saved his life.

  23. Guilty as charged. Watching all the kids eat while this one couldn't? I couldn't do that to a stranger's child let alone my own. In fact, had I seen this I would have HAD to say something to her.

    1. yes, that is what psychopath child abusers do

  24. Lets pray Justice finally is done for this dear woman...so many people do NOT understand about pica...I had it for half a year and I ate, smelled patroleum based shoe polish.
    My Pica was caused by my having severe anemia.
    and Zaterans is a little spicy, but very tastey, yes is salty, but not too much.
    That child got into the salt and ate some of it all by himself....its senseless when comes to flavor, smells or taste when comes to Pica.
    I'd be willing to testify to my experiences with eating shoe polish...i would wake up at 3 am to eat it...my compulsion was that strong!

  25. If the little boy had injested the salt earlier in the day, when Hannah said she fell asleep and woke to find him with something in his hand in the pantry, he would have been Nauseaus and unwell. So how is it, that he managed to eat 2 servings of food and wanted more later on !
    And only after the drink did he apparently become ill.

  26. Her whole family has issues, though. Her grandfather was Marshall Applewhite, the Heaven’s Gate cult leader, founded by her father- the man who raped and murder the teen girl. The CA cult where the men had themselves castrated. She was rasied around that.

    That’s not the type of family you put an abused child with. As far as she not knowing what salt could do, her mother and grandmother were herbalists, so it isn’t unrealistic to think some of that knowledge might have rubbed off on her. Even if she truly didn’t know salt could kill, what would you displine a child like that?

    And as her husband waited years for her release, she got herself a girlfriend in prison to pass the time. She’s a woman of questionable character who comes from a line of damaged people. It’s highly probable that she is in fact guilty.

  27. Gloss over it all they like, no one can explain how badly they failed this terribly needy and abused child. Whether she "murdered" him or not, she contributed to his death and there is no denying that truth.

    1. I’ve never seen or read anything about the adults mourning that neglected child. Hannah laughed while giving testimony and never shed a tear for him, only herself. The oldest brother said something about missing him, but that could have been coached. If the 4 year old had been properly supervised he might be alive today. They could have put the garbage where he couldn’t get it and put a lock on the pantry door. Seeing that he was finding things in the yard and putting them in his mouth could been solved by picking it up and disposing of it. Those are the normal things people do. Someone from the church could have been asked to help with the boys while she napped. No effort was put into making the house and yard a safe place for that little boy. They never treated him like their own child. Hannah was not prepared for a child who was like the biological cookie-cutter children she already had. I doubt if they would have ever adopted him. A little toddler died and all she and her husband cared about was having a sixth baby of their own. Shame on them!!