A Chicago mother who survived a leap from the 11th floor of an apartment building after allegedly killing her two children and stabbing her grandfather is now facing two counts of first-degree murder.
Aleah Newell, 20, is recovering at the University of Chicago Medical Center from injuries she suffered from the fall —including a broken wrist and ankle—but has been ordered by a judge to be held without bail, The Chicago Sun Times reports.
Prosecutors allege that Newell stabbed her grandfather more than 10 times until he lost consciousness, before turning on her 7-month-old son Ameer Newell, stabbing him 19 times and scalding his face in the bathtub, WMAQ-TV reports. Newell allegedly left the blistered baby face down in the tub, then cut a hole in the screen of a living room window and hurled her 2-year-old son Johntavis Newell out the window before jumping from the window herself, prosecutors said.
The 2-year-old died from multiple fractures to his head and blunt force trauma sustained in the fall. The 7-month-old also died.
Police arrived at the scene a short time later and found the 70-year-old grandfather “moaning in a pool of blood,” prosecutors said in court, according to the paper.
Cook County Prosecutors said Newell had been at her grandfather’s apartment to give her children a bath. But as she was running the water, prosecutors said her grandfather came in the bathroom to urinate and was attacked by Newell, who placed him in a chokehold, hit him in the head with a towel bar and stabbed him more than 10 times leaving “blood spatter all over the toilet, sink and vanity.”
The 70-year-old was in critical condition at the hospital but is expected to survive.
Newell also survived after a window washing scaffold on the third floor broke her fall after she leapt from the building.
Newell had reportedly told her mother on Tuesday that she wanted her to come pick up the boys so that she could “get her life together,” prosecutors said. But when her mom, Zera Newell, went to get the boys the following day, they were not at home.
“I told her ‘I’ll take care of the kids,’” Zera Newell told WGN.
Aleah Newell stayed with the boys for several days at a homeless shelter before arriving at her grandfather’s apartment.
Adrienne Thomas, a woman who saw Newell at the shelter, told the local station the young mom had said “I can’t do it, I can’t take care of them,” and seemed overwhelmed at the time.
Zera Newell said she wished she would have known her daughter had been so upset.
“They should have helped her, if they knew she wasn’t fit they should have called me,” she said. “They could have called a member of the family to get the kids. So, to me, they’re responsible for it too.”
The shelter—Shield of Hope—issued a statement about the tragedy Friday.
“Shield of Hope, an emergency homeless assessment and rapid-response center, houses up to 152 people every night. Despite reports in recent days, no family has been, nor will be turned away. Our doors are open to all who seek respite,” the statement said, according to WGN.
The shelter said it could not release specifics of Aleah Newell’s stay but could confirm that she was there on Dec. 30 and Dec. 31 before checking out of the shelter on New Year’s Day.
“We continue to pray for the family and those impacted by this tragedy,” they said.
Zera Newell is now left mourning the loss of her grandsons.
“My daughter, I don’t know what was going on, but I know deep inside she loved her kids,” she told The Sun Times. “And my grandsons, I’m not gonna never forget them. I wanna always remember the good times I had with them for two years and seven months.”
Aleah Newell did not appear at her bond hearing over the weekend, but could be in court Monday if her condition at the hospital improves, WMAQ-TV reports.
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