HAMILTON, Ohio -- Butler County Common Pleas Judge Greg Stephens called the actions of a mother in her son’s beating and starvation "deplorable," but still allowed her the possibility for parole.
Theresa Hawkins-Stephens was sentenced to 18 years to life in prison Monday for the beating death of her 5-year-old son, Alexander Stephens.
Hawkins-Stephens, 26, is the last of three women charged in the child's death. He was found suffering from life-threatening injuries in a motel in Middletown in April. She pleaded guilty last month to murder and two counts of child endangering.
— Jay Warren (@JayWarrenWCPO) September 19, 2016
Last week, Rachel Bostian, 29, who also pleaded guilty to murder and two counts of child endangering, was sentenced to 18 years to life. Ramona Bostian, Rachel’s mother, was sentenced to three years in prison after pleading guilty to obstruction of justice.
Rachel Bostian and Hawkins-Stephens tied up Alexander for about 22 hours on April 26 and, according to prosecutors, “severely” beat the boy.
Police said Alexander’s brother, 6-year-old Damyan, was also injured in the attacks, but his injuries were not life-threatening.
The Stephens boys were sleeping in a tent near the Great Miami River with their mother and her two friends, who told police they came to the area looking to find work.
According to court documents, the two boys were tied up with blankets for “stealing food.”
Alexander Stephens' little body weighed just 28 pounds at the time of his death, according to the coroner's report. The report listed nutritional deprivation and "blunt force trauma to the head, torso and extremities with skull fracture and subdural hemorrhage" as causes of death. The report stated there the bruises on his back were too numerous to count.
"She starved (Alexander) along with my great-grandson Damyan for over a year," Sharon Bartholic, the boys' great grandmother said in court Monday. "Because they got into food that she told them not to touch, she tied them up and she beat them to the point that Alexander died."
Judge Stephens said Monday that he promises to be at Hawkins-Stephens' parole hearing 18 years from now.
WCPO media partner The Journal-News contributed to this report.