CHICAGO (AP) — A 20-year-old Chicago woman was ordered held without bail Saturday on murder charges after police say she killed two of her young sons, leaving one in a bathtub and throwing another from an 11th-floor apartment window before jumping herself.
Aleah Newell of Chicago is charged with two counts of murder for the death of the boys, ages 2 years and 7 months. She also is charged with attempted murder for stabbing her grandfather before she jumped from the apartment building on Chicago's South Side.
Newell did not appear at Saturday's bail hearing because she is still recovering at University of Chicago Medical Center, a Chicago police officer testified at the hearing. Her grandfather is hospitalized in critical condition but was expected to live, prosecutors said.
Newell and her 2-year-old son, Johntavis Newell, were found on the ground outside a high-rise around 2 a.m. Thursday after police received a 911 call about a person injured on the street. Officers later found 7-month-old Ameer Newell in the bathtub of the 11th-floor apartment, along with the 70-year-old grandfather, who had been stabbed. Authorities have not released his name.
They say Aleah Newell stabbed her grandfather and Ameer Newell several times before she set the infant in a “scalding” hot bath. She then threw Johntavis out the window and jumped herself. Scaffolding broke the woman's fall, but she suffered several broken bones, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
Aleah Newel had told her mother, Zera Newell, that she wanted to get her life together and asked her to pick up her boys, prosecutors said. But when her mother arrived on New Year’s Day to get the children, Newell was gone.
Early the next morning, prosecutors allege, Newell attacked her family.
During the bond hearing, Cook County assistant state’s attorney James Murphy told the judge that Aleah Newell turned on the hot water in the bathroom and let it run. Murphy said that while the water was running, the grandfather went to use the bathroom and Newell came up behind him, put him in a chokehold and hit him in the head with the towel bar.
Newell then walked into the kitchen, grabbed a knife and began stabbing her grandfather, Murphy said, leaving blood spatter all over the toilet, sink and vanity. The grandfather was stabbed more than 10 times in the neck, shoulder, hands and arms until he lost consciousness.
Newell then stabbed 7-month old Ameer 19 times in the head, Murphy alleged. She then picked him up, carried him to the bathroom and plunged him face down into the scalding water in the bathtub, according to Murphy.
Newell left Ameer in the bathtub and went to the living room where Johntavis was. She cut a hole in the window screen and threw Johntavis from the apartment, Murphy said.
About 20 seconds later, Newell crawled through the hole and fell to the ground. Her fall, though, was broken when she hit a scaffold located around the third floor. She broke through the scaffold and landed on the concrete next to Johntavis. Security video caught the two as they landed on the concrete, Murphy said.
Newell can be seen on the video moving and sitting up after the fall, Murphy said.
Zera Newell told the Sun-Times that Aleah Newell took her children to a women's shelter earlier in the week and asked workers there to take her children. Zera Newell said her daughter had shown signs of depression in the past.
“I thought she was over that,” Newell said, adding that “maybe behind closed doors it was another thing.”
The Salvation Army told WBBM-TV that Aleah Newell stayed Monday and Tuesday at Shield of Hope, a Chicago homeless shelter for families, and left on Wednesday morning.
The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services has started an investigation into the deaths. A department spokesman said DCFS had no prior contact with the family.