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Mom accused of decapitating baby spoke of demons

  • This Tuesday, March 17, 2015 photo shows the College Hill home where a three-month old baby was found murdered in Cincinnati. Police arriving in response to a 911 call found the baby decapitated and stabbed multiple times with a large chef's knife. (AP Photo/The Cincinnati Enquirer, Amanda Rossmann)

CINCINNATI » A woman accused of decapitating her 3-month-old daughter was considered a threat to her child and had been "acting crazy" and talking about demons, according to court documents.

A juvenile court magistrate on March 6 ordered Jayniah Watkins taken from her mother for the child’s protection and placed in the custody of Hamilton County Job and Family Services. But that didn’t save the baby.

Jayniah, temporarily placed with an aunt by a county agency, was found dead Monday on the aunt’s kitchen counter. Police responding to a 911 call found the baby decapitated and stabbed multiple times with a large chef’s knife. She also had a fractured arm, and the knife had been placed in her hand, authorities said.

Police found the 20-year-old mother, Deasia Watkins, in bed covered with blood. She was charged with aggravated murder. No attorney is listed in court records for Watkins, who remained under guard Wednesday at a local hospital. County prosecutor Joe Deters says Watkins hadn’t spoken and appeared to be suffering from "serious mental issues."

James Brown, who authorities believe to be the baby’s father, reported that Watkins had been "acting crazy lately, speaking of demons," according to a court document. Watkins was hospitalized briefly and diagnosed with postpartum psychosis. Doctors declared her unsafe around the child unless she took prescribed medication, court documents state.

Deters said Tuesday that the agency followed court orders, finding a relative to care for the child and checking on her, but didn’t know the mother apparently moved into the aunt’s home about a week before the slaying. The agency couldn’t constantly monitor the home, he said.

The Hamilton County Juvenile Court magistrate wrote in March that "imminent risk of harm exists if the child returns to her surroundings."

Court documents show Watkins was hospitalized after a January incident when police responded to a report of her screaming and the baby crying at their apartment. Watkins appeared to be under the influence of marijuana and wouldn’t let go of the child, who was taken by emergency personnel after Watkins passed out, according to the documents.

Brian Gregg, a spokesman for Jobs and Family Services on Wednesday, referred all questions to the prosecutor’s office.

Deters wasn’t sure anyone else would be charged. The aunt, whose name wasn’t released by the prosecutor, may be needed as a witness, he said.

Brown, whose paternity hasn’t been established, couldn’t be reached for comment. No phone listing was found for Brown, who also was ordered to stay away from the child when the court found both parents neglectful.

Deters has said that until Watkins talks, it will be very difficult to determine her motivation.

"But no matter what the motivation was, the crime itself is so horrific that no one is going to be able to explain this," he said Tuesday.

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