March 16, 2015
Cincinnati, Ohio
De’asia Watkins (20) stabs and decapitates her 3-month-old baby Jayniah, leaving the knife in the baby’s hand to claim she had done it to herself

Watkins had been both abused and neglected for the vast majority of her childhood, was placed in at least five different homes, used “no vocabulary” until she was over 4 years old, and exhibited psychological signs of sexual abuse.

After Jayniah’s birth, Watkins was diagnosed with postpartum psychosis and prescribed medications, though she discontinued their use. During this time, Watkins also began “acting crazy” and claimed to be able to speak to demons according to Jayniah’s father, James Brown. Social workers monitored the family and considered Watkins to be a threat to the infant. After it was noticed Watkins had stopped taking her medication, social workers took custody of Jayniah and eventually placed her into the care of an aunt under the condition Watkins and Brown have no contact with the baby unless supervised by a social worker. Despite this restriction, Watkins found where Jayniah was placed and went to the home.

On March 16, the aunt found Jayniah decapitated on the kitchen counter and Watkins asleep in a bed covered in blood. In addition to being decapitated, the baby had been stabbed multiple times with a “large kitchen knife” — which had been placed in the baby’s hand — and her arm had been fractured. Watkins later told police she had placed the knife in Jayniah’s hand so people would assume the baby had accidentally killed herself.

Watkins first entered a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity, though she pleaded guilty to murder in 2017 and sentenced to 15 years to life in prison.

“Deasia Watkins, Ohio mom, pleads guilty to decapitating daughter.” CBS News. February 23, 2017. Accessed: March 16, 2019.
“Mom denies beheading baby girl.” Dayton Daily News. March 27, 2015
Horn, Dan. “Mom was in hell long before she claimed to speak to demons.” The Cincinnati Enquirer. March 25, 2015. Accessed: March 16, 2019.
Horn, Dan. “Workers’ warnings unheeded before baby beheaded.” USA Today/The Cincinnati Inquirer. March 20, 2015. Accessed: March 16, 2019.

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