Mother pleads guilty in beating death of 5-year-old son

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Guilty of murder. Goes with Lauren Pack story

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

A mother has admitted guilt in the beating death of her son, 5-year-old Alexander Stephens.

Theresa Hawkins-Stephens, 26, pleaded guilty Friday to murder and two counts of child endangering.

Her case was scheduled for a hearing in Butler County Common Pleas Court on a motion to throw out statements made to police, but Hawkins-Stephens instead changed her plea. Hawkins-Stephens faces 26 years to life and is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 19 by Butler County Common Pleas Judge Greg Stephens.

Hawkins-Stephens answered, “yes, sir” when asked questions by the judge about the plea process. She met with her attorney, Christopher Frederick, for a few minutes before the hearing began, but made no statements during the hearing.

Last week Rachel Bostian, 29, of Licking County, entered a guilty plea to two counts of endangering children in addition to murder. She also faces a maximum of 26 years to life in prison. Her sentencing is set for Sept. 12.

Last month, Ramona Bostian pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice. She faces up to 36 months in prison. Ramona Bostian, 56, also of Licking County and Rachel's mother, is scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 22.

Rachel Bostian and Hawkins-Stephens are accused of tying up Alexander for about 22 hours on April 26 and, according to police, “severely” beating the boy on his head and body.

Alexander Stephens’ death certificated from the Hamilton County Coroner’s Office lists his cause of death as “blunt impacts of head, torso, and extremities with skull fractures and subdural hemorrhage.”

The autopsy report obtained by this news outlet lists 39 injuries to the head, 12 injuries to the torso, 32 injuries to the upper extremities and 34 injures to the lower extremities. Some of the injures to the head and torso overlapped and were “too numerous to count,” according to the autopsy report.

Alexander’s brother, 6-year-old Damyan, was also injured in the attacks, but his injuries were not life-threatening and he is recovering, according to police and prosecutors.

The autopsy also stated the boy had a history of food deprivation. Alexander “appears younger than the reported age of 5 years,” Dr. Jennifer C. Schott wrote in the report. He weighed 28 pounds at the time of his death, according to the autopsy.

According to court documents, the two boys were tied up with blankets for “stealing food.” Rachel Bostian and Hawkins-Stephens beat them with their hands, a belt and a stick, according to prosecutors.

Damyan Stephens also suffered from severe malnutrition that resulted in severe growth deficiencies that required hospitalization, according to Assistant Butler County Prosecutor Kelly Heile.

The Stephens boys were sleeping in a tent near the Great Miami River in Middletown with their mother and the Bostians, who told police they came to the area looking for work. The boys were found beaten in a room at the Parkway Inn in Middletown.

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