Foster mom convicted, exonerated in child's death, welcomes new - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Foster mom convicted, exonerated in child's death, welcomes new daughter into her family

Posted: Updated: Jun 12, 2018 4:17 PM
Andrew Burd Andrew Burd
Hannah Overton of Corpus Christi, Texas, spent seven years in prison after she was sentenced to life without parole in the death of 4-year-old Andrew Burd, whom she planned to adopt with her husband. Her conviction was overturned in 2014. Hannah Overton of Corpus Christi, Texas, spent seven years in prison after she was sentenced to life without parole in the death of 4-year-old Andrew Burd, whom she planned to adopt with her husband. Her conviction was overturned in 2014.
Andrew Burd, 4, of Corpus Christi, Texas, died in 2006, and the Overtons, who planned to adopt him, were convicted the next year in his death but later exonerated. Andrew Burd, 4, of Corpus Christi, Texas, died in 2006, and the Overtons, who planned to adopt him, were convicted the next year in his death but later exonerated.
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CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas - A mother who spent years in prison before she was exonerated for capital murder has given birth to a daughter.

Hannah Overton announced her sixth child, Gabriela Aliana, this week in a Facebook post that described a difficult delivery. Overton had to have a blood transfusion, and her new daughter spent a few days in a neonatal intensive care unit.

But both mother and daughter are doing fine.

"God is so good!," Overton wrote in the social media post. "We are over the top in love with our new blessing! She is amazing!"

Overton spent seven years in prison after she was sentenced in 2007 to life without parole in connection with the 2006 death of 4-year-old Andrew Burd. She and her husband were foster parents to Andrew and were planning to adopt him.

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Nueces County jurors found she had failed to seek timely medical care for the boy. Prosecutors had accused her of giving Andrew a mix of water and spicy seasoning that contributed to the high levels of sodium in his system.

The Overtons have said they believed he instead had a rare medical condition called hypernatremia, in which an insufficient amount of water in the body leads to a higher concentration of sodium, causing the fatal sodium levels.

Overton's husband, Larry, took a plea deal for a lesser charge in the case and was given probation.

After years of appeals and hearings the state's highest criminal court overturned her conviction in 2014. The court ruled her trial lawyers were ineffective and sent her case back to be retried.

Then Mark Skurka, Nueces County district attorney, dropped the case. Last year, new District Attorney Mark Gonzalez filed a motion to officially declare her innocent.

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That left Hannah Overton entitled to seek state compensation money for the wrongful conviction.

Her case drew national attention, and she was the subject of the documentary Until Proven Innocent.

In March she told ABC News she would receive nearly $600,000 in compensation along with other benefits though she acknowledged no sum could give her back the years of freedom she lost.

"I could never thank my attorneys enough for fighting endlessly to prove my innocence and bring me home," she said.

While behind bars, Hannah Overton relied on her faith, family and supporters and led Bible studies. She since has created Syndeo Ministries to help prisoners transition back into society.

According to the ministry's website, Syndeo helps provide incarcerated women support including Bible studies, visitation and care after being freed. The ministry has a pen-pal program, and Hannah Overton is often featured in Facebook videos in which she talks about ways to help women in prison.

One recent fundraising effort involves providing "chill towels" this summer because most Texas prisons are without air conditioning.

Syndeo Ranch in Palestine, Texas, about 150 miles north of Houston, is a faith-based home to help women transitioning out of prison.

The ministry's name, Syndeo, is taken from a Greek word meaning "to connect" or "be connected." Hannah Overton cites a Bible verse from Hebrews 13:3 on the ministry website to explain its mission: "Remember those in prison as if you were bound with them!"

Follow Mary Ann Cavazos Beckett on Twitter: @CallerMaryAnn

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