CINCINNATI (AP) — A woman accused of decapitating her 3-month-old daughter pleaded not guilty Thursday to a charge of aggravated murder.
Deasia Watkins, 20, was arraigned on the charge in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court, a court official said. Watkins' attorney entered the not-guilty plea for her. Judge Charles Kubicki ordered that Watkins be transferred to the Twin Valley Behavioral Healthcare facility in Columbus for psychological evaluation and he increased her bail from $500,000 to $5 million.
Watkins was arrested last week. Police responding to a 911 call on March 16 found Jayniah Watkins decapitated on the kitchen counter in the home of an aunt who was temporarily caring for her. Authorities said the baby had been 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.
Authorities say Deasia Watkins appeared to be suffering from serious mental issues when police found her covered in blood in a bed at the aunt's home. Prosecutors have said they won't seek the death penalty
Watkins was considered a threat to her child and had been "acting crazy" and talking about demons when a juvenile court judge earlier in March placed the baby in the custody of Hamilton County Job and Family Services, according to court documents. Social workers later placed the baby in the aunt's care, warning her to keep the mother away from the child unless social workers were present, authorities said.
Prosecutors said the county welfare agency followed court orders in finding a relative to care for the baby and checking on her numerous times. But they said social workers didn't know the mother apparently moved into the aunt's home about a week before the slaying.
Court documents also show that Watkins was diagnosed with postpartum psychosis, and doctors declared her unsafe around the child unless she took prescribed medication.