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Portsmouth woman indicted for baby’s death found not guilty by insanity

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Posted at 12:06 PM, Aug 22, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-23 08:22:24-04

Donita Hawkins.

PORTSMOUTH, Va. – Donita Hawkins, who was indicted by a grand jury on a second-degree murder charge which stems from the death of her infant child, pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity in Portsmouth Circuit Court Wednesday.

The guilty plea was an agreement between the prosecution and the defense. The judge then found her not guilty by reason of insanity.

Hawkins’ hearing has been continued to October 22 at 9 a.m.

Paramedics responded to a home on Merrimac Drive in Portsmouth on January 27, 2017 for a woman about to have a baby. At that time, Donita Hawkins was taken to the hospital. Once there, she revealed to doctors that she had delivered the baby, cut the umbilical cord and put the infant in a trash bag.

A doctor testified in court that the infant was dead upon arrival at the hospital and the medical examiner testified that during her autopsy she discovered the baby was full term when he was born and breathed on his own after birth. The cause of death, according to the medical examiner, was sharp force injury to the umbilical cord, cocaine exposure, neglect and infection to the placenta.

In the early stages of the trial, the judge announced Hawkins was competent enough to stand trial.

The Portsmouth Commonwealth’s Attorney Office is unable to give an official comment on the matter due to the pending review hearing.

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