Mom Convicted of Poisoning 4-Year-Old Foster Son Freed

Texas' Hannah Overton, convicted for 2006 death of Andrew Burd, out on $50K bond
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 17, 2014 1:38 PM CST
Mom Convicted of Poisoning 4-Year-Old Foster Son Freed
Attorney Cynthia Orr, left, hugs Hannah Overton after Judge Mario Ramirez reduced Overton’s bond on Dec. 16, 2014, during a bail hearing in Corpus Christi, Texas.   (AP Photo/Corpus Christi Caller-Times, Michael Zamora)

For the first time in seven years, Hannah Overton will be able to hug her five kids instead of waving to them through plexiglass. The Corpus Christi mother, who has been in prison since 2007, was released on $50,000 bond yesterday, more than two months after a Texas appellate court threw out her life sentence for the murder of 4-year-old foster son Andrew Burd and ordered a new trial, ABC News reports. The appellate court said the performance of her original defense team "fell below a reasonable standard," the Huffington Post reports. Overton was convicted of poisoning Andrew in 2006 with seasoning, with prosecutors painting her as an out-of-control mom who "forced him to have 23 teaspoons of hot pepper and then watched him die in agony." Overton's defense team contended that Andrew may have wandered into the kitchen pantry and accidentally ingested the seasoning himself.

Overton had been convicted based on not getting timely help for Andrew. But Overton and her husband had taken Andrew to an urgent-care clinic, and a salt intoxication expert whose testimony wasn't used in the original trial said poisoning symptoms initially are mild and wouldn't have roused suspicion right away, the Guardian reports. Several witnesses testified to Overton's character at yesterday's hearing, KRIS TV notes, including a pastor who said Overton went on mission trips to help kids in Mexico, and a man who said Overton had been "the best caregiver he ever had" for his disabled son. As Overton awaits a new trial, she's just happy to spend time with her family. "I know we'll make up for it, but I don't know what we'll be able to catch up for seven years," Overton tells ABC. (A New York mom says her 5-year-old son may have accidentally poisoned himself and died.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.