A Sept. 23 unbylined WorldNetDaily article attempts to portray a Texas woman convicted in connection with the death of a 4-year-old she was planning to adopt as a victim of anti-Christian discrimination, but the article leaves out parts of the story in an apparent attempt to make the woman look more like a victim.
Hannah Overton was convicted of capital murder Sept. 8 in the death of 4-year-old Andrew Burd. The boy died after Overton fed him a mixture of Cajun seasoning in water, and Overton failed to promptly seek medical attention for him. Overton was sentenced on to life in prison. Her husband, Larry, also faces charges in the boy's death.
The WND article attempts a revisionist history of the case, asserting that "those who know the Overtons best aren't buying the prosecution's story and, in fact, believe evidence was distorted and doctored by district attorney's office, police department, child protective services and the news media to railroad the homeschooling, Christian couple."
The article claims that " the prosecutors used videotape images of Andrew asleep in his bed, taken from a camera placed in the room, the parents say, for the safety of their children. The recordings show Andrew sleeping on a bed stripped of a mattress. The video was shown in the courtroom by the prosecution in an effort to establish a pattern of abuse by the parents."
But evidence shows that Overton does, in fact, have a pattern of abuse. From an Oct. 20, 2006, KRIS-TV article:
Hannah Overton said she put Andrew in the bath to warm him up, but it did not work. While talking to Corpus Christi police, Hannah Overton changed her story.
"Mrs. Overton stated she fixed two sippy cups with the chili with the water and forced Andrew to drink it. The first cup to teach him a lesson, and the second as a form of punishment. At that time, Andrew fell over, hit his head and then threw up. She then picked him up and 'beat the s*** out of him,' " the affidavit states.
The report said Hannah came to the realization about what she'd done. She called her husband Larry Overton, who took the child to a health clinic, but Andrew died at Driscoll Children's Hospital. Before his death, doctors noticed even more problems.
"Andrew had what appeared to be a cigarette burn mark on his right arm, along with some bruising to the arm and leg area," doctor reports state. "Medical staff also advised that Andrew had what appeared to be scratches along the stomach and neck area."
A hearing is scheduled for Friday to determine what happens to the Overton's other four children, who are currently staying with family members. According to court documents, the Overton children told investigators little Andrew underwent stricter punishment in the home.
Isaac, 7, also told police that his brother, Andrew, is the one who got in more trouble and was never doing antyhing right. Isaac said Andrew had to stay in his room, and his mother watched him through the 'security camera' which was pointed at his bed.
Another of the Overton's children noticied problems as well. Isabel, 5, told investigators, "He gets no food, has to stay in bed, and does not get to go on trips. Isabel indicated on one occasion Andrew had to stay in bed for two nights and he could not even get up to go to the bathroom, and he had to 'poop' in the bed."
She too mentioned that the Overtons made sure Andrew stayed in bed by watching him on the camera.
As for the punishments for the Overton children, they too would get pepper or soap in their mouths for lying. The kids all seem to know there are consequences for lying or getting in trouble.
WND mentions none of this. Rather, it quotes the Overtons' pastor as claiming that "the Overtons' story about the events leading up to Andrew's death has been consistent and unwavering from the beginning." The pastor then "paints a picture of an emotionally troubled Andrew who may have also brought physical illness to the Overton family from his previous foster home."
WND also asserts that Overton "rushed [Andrew] to the hospital within one hour and 49 minutes of becoming symptomatic. Prosecutors claim it took her three hours and grilled her about not calling 911." That's a generous -- and slanted -- way of describing it. Here's how the Corpus Christi Caller-Times put it:
During the trial, prosecutors questioned why Overton and her husband made several phone calls but none to 911, and delayed taking the boy to a clinic for more than 1 1/2 hours. One of the doctors who treated the boy that day testified their delay in seeking help reduced his chances for survival.
When polled, all 12 jurors said they found her guilty because of her failure to act.
WND seems to be turning into the Cinnamon Stillwell of Christian homeschoolers -- they must be defended and whitewashed, no matter how heinous their offenses.