Friday, September 7, 2012

Hannah Overton: Texas; Murder or medical mystery in salt poisoning death? ABC News examines case as appeal court decision looms; (Must Read; HL);

STORY: "Woman convicted of salt poisoning death accuses prosecutor of misconduct," by Juju Chang and Shana Druckerman, published by ABC News on September 7, 2012.

GIST: "Any day now, Hannah Overton could hear the news that could change her life. After five long years in jail, a Texas court could overturn her murder conviction, allowing her to finally be reunited with her five children.........At Overton's original trial in 2007, the prosecution portrayed her as a mother who had lost control. Frustrated with a naughty child, prosecutors said, she tried to punish him with seasoning mixed in water. The defense presented the jury with a medical mystery. They suggested that Andrew might have had pica, an eating disorder characterized by an obsessive appetite and that Andrew accidentally poisoned himself by consuming a fatal amount of sodium........In 2007, Overton, now 35, was handed a sentence of life in prison for the 2006 salt poisoning death of a 4-year-old she was trying to adopt, Andrew Burd. But in the years since her conviction, questions have been raised about whether prosecutors were overzealous in their efforts to convict Overton, failing to present the jury with expert testimony and evidence that might have made a difference in the outcome of the trial. Former prosecutor Sandra Eastwood, "at best, jumped to conclusions and didn't take the time and energy to find the truth," Overton told "20/20" in a recent interview. At worst, Overton added, Eastwood "went along with a lie to win the case." Eastwood, who spoke to "20/20" in 2008 and stood by her handling of the Overton case, declined a request for a new interview through her attorney. Overton also was interviewed in 2008, in prison, for an episode of "20/20." After an appeals hearing earlier this year, Overton's fate now rests in the hands of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, which could decide either to free Hannah, order a new trial, or reject her appeal."

The entire story can be found at:

See "The fight to free Hannah Overton: Experts say Andrew Burd's death was accidental," video at:


I am monitoring this case. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments.

The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at:

Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at:

Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to:

Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog.