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

Coroner's report states boy weighed 28 pounds
Posted: 3:11 PM, Aug 12, 2016
Updated: 2016-08-12 21:25:12Z

HAMILTON, Ohio -- A mother accused of tying up her 5-year-old son and beating him for 22 hours because he "stole food" pleaded guilty Friday. 

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.  

Theresa Hawkins-Stephens, 26, pleaded guilty to murder and two counts of child endangering. She faces 26 years to life in prison. Her sentencing has been set for Sept. 19.

Her case was originally scheduled Friday for a hearing in Butler County Common Pleas Court on a motion to throw out statements made to police, but Theresa instead changed her plea.

Kelly Heile, assistant Butler County Prosecutor, said Theresa and Rachel hit the boy with their hands, belts, sticks and other unknown means. 

Theresa's friend Rachel Bostian was also accused in Alexander's 22-hour beating on April 26. According to police, the two “severely” beat the boy on his head and body after using sheets to tie him up. He was pronounced dead on  April 29. 

Alexander Stephens

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

Rachel's mother,  Ramona Bostian, pleaded guilty last month to obstruction of justice. She faces up to 36 months in prison. Ramona, 56, is scheduled to be sentenced later this month. 

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

WCPO's media partner, The Journal-News, contributed to this report.