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Baby Killed Over Delinquent Fines
January 27, 2015 permalink
News analysis following the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson Missouri last year brought to light the widespread American municipal practice of rising money through numerous petty fines instead of taxes. Poor people unable to pay on time are assessed additional monetary penalties and jail time. The mother of Justice Hull, born October 28, 2014, was one of them. While she was in jail because of problems with traffic tickets, little Justice was drowned by the teenaged daughter of the foster mom. The good news for the city is they will collect their fines. Friends of the bereaved mother are taking up a collection so that she can be out of jail in time for her daughter's funeral. Two articles are enclosed.
Teen in custody after baby is drowned in Red Bird apartment
A woman returned to her Dallas home Monday morning and found the baby girl she was caring for had been drowned and her 14-year-old daughter was in police custody.
The drowning was reported about 6 a.m. at the Rosemont at Hickory Trace apartments on South Westmoreland Road in Red Bird.
The 2-month-old, Justice Hull, was dead when police and paramedics arrived, police Maj. Rob Sherwin said. She would have been 3 months old Wednesday.
Sherwin said the teenager called police, but he declined to discuss details of the 911 call.
The teen, whose name has not been released because of her age, has been charged with capital murder of a person younger than 10. She was being held at the Henry Wade Juvenile Justice Center.
The juvenile justice system and the district attorney’s office will determine whether the teen will be certified to stand trial as an adult.
“There’s very little doubt that this investigation has revealed that this is an intentional act,” Sherwin said.
When Justice’s mother was jailed shortly after giving birth, she asked Child Protective Services to place the baby in the home of the woman, a family friend, Sherwin said.
No matter what the child’s mother did, “she didn’t deserve to have her baby killed,” he said.
Investigators say the baby was killed shortly after the teen’s mother left for work.
Neighbors said they could hear the woman wailing when she returned home and found police investigating Justice’s death.
Kaleisha Taylor, who has lived in the complex for nine years, said the death was unthinkable.
She said she hopes the tight-knit community will come together to help the family and other children in the neighborhood.
“They say it takes a village to raise a family,” said Taylor, who has a 7-month-old, “so we’re going to have to be the village they need.”
The girl in custody has a twin sister and a 19-year-old brother, neighbors and police say. Other witnesses in the home were taken to Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center.
Neighbors gathered near the family’s apartment Monday morning described the twin sisters as kind and respectful. They were often outside walking the family dog.
“They’re always together. You never see one without the other,” Taylor said.
She said the sisters were popular and played basketball at their middle school. Their mother works at the Wal-Mart across the street from the apartment complex.
Another neighbor, Shalonda Shanks, said she worked with the mother.
“That 3-month-old didn’t even get a chance to live,” Shanks said.
Source: Dallas Morning News
Dallas teen faces murder charge after baby drowns
DALLAS — Two-month-old Justice Hull lived most of her short life with another family at a southern Dallas apartment complex because her mother was jailed shortly after giving birth.
Justice's mom received approval from Child Protective Services to leave her baby in the care of a friend. But when that friend left for work Monday morning, police say her 14-year-old daughter murdered the infant at the Hickory Trace Apartments in the 8400 block of Westmoreland Road.
"The facts of the case are that a 14-year-old intentionally drowned a two-month-old girl," Dallas police Maj. Robert Sherwin said.
It is now up to prosecutors to decide whether a teenage caretaker will be tried as an adult in the drowning death of two-month-old Justice Hull.
Details are few. According to police, the teenager called 911 to report the death. Police say they still don't know the motive.
Shuntavia Calhoun, who also lives at the Hickory Trace Apartments, can't imagine, either. She said this seemed like a good family.
"They had smiles on their faces, they spoke politely… you know… manners," Calhoun said. "They seemed so sweet and innocent, so for something like this to happen is like, wow."
A relative of baby Justice collapsed outside the apartment after being told of the infant's death. Family members said the infant's mother saw that moment on TV from inside the jail where she's still locked up, and now dealing with a wrenching loss.
"We talked to her," Sherwin said. "That is obviously not a pleasant conversation. Regardless of what she did, she didn't deserve to have her baby killed."
A family member said Justice's mother was jailed because of problems with traffic tickets. Relatives are now trying to raise hundreds of dollars to get her out so she can attend her baby's funeral, but they have no idea how they will be able to pay for the burial.
CPS wouldn't comment on the case Monday, but a spokesperson said the agency may have information to share on Tuesday.
As for the 14-year-old suspect, since she is charged with capital murder it will be up to the court system to determine if she should be tried as an adult.
Even if that happens, if she is convicted she can't face the death penalty because of her age.