$500k bond for mom accused of beheading infant daughter

Deasia Watkins booked in Hamilton County Jail after being released from hospital
Published: Mar. 16, 2015 at 5:54 PM EDT|Updated: Mar. 20, 2015 at 5:50 PM EDT
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Deasia Watkins, 20. Provided by Cincinnati Police.
Deasia Watkins, 20. Provided by Cincinnati Police.
Janiyah, provided photo.
Janiyah, provided photo.
Janiyah, provided photo
Janiyah, provided photo

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Editor's note: Content in this story may be disturbing to some.

Bond was set at $500,000 cash Friday for the mother accused of beheading her own 3-month-old baby.

Deasia Watkins, 20, was released from a hospital Thursday and booked into the Hamilton County jail on an aggravated murder charge.

When Watkins made a brief appearance before Hamilton County Municipal Court Judge Melissa Powers, prosecutors requested a high bond.

In what Prosecutor Joe Deters calls "one of the most disturbing cases I've ever seen in my life," Watkins is accused of beheading Jayniah Watkins early Monday inside a relative's home on the quiet College Hill street Waldman Lane.

A child who arrived at the home later that morning found the newborn lying on the counter with a severed head.

The baby also suffered multiple stab wounds to the face and a fractured right arm. Her cause of death has yet to be determine, but the word "decapitation" will be used in the coroner's report.

Deasia Watkins, who is said to be suffering from a condition called Postpartum Psychosis, a very rare but severe mental illness, was taken to a hospital for a psychiatric evaluation.

She appeared calm when she faced the judge Friday. She looked at her lawyer, Michael Trapp, and the judge, before exiting the courtroom without speaking.

Trapp, who met privately with the judge before the hearing, declined to talk to FOX19 NOW.

Less than two months ago, Watkins was diagnosed with postpartum psychosis and prescribed the medication Risperdal, county court records show. Caseworkers at Hamilton County Job and Family Services said they believe Watkins may not have been taking her medication. That could have led to delusional thinking and hallucinations.

Deters has said he does not anticipate seeking a death penalty specification due to Watkins' apparent mental illness. The case goes to a grand jury for possible indictment March 26.

According to Postpartum Support International, unlike postpartum depression which occurs in 1 in 8 new mothers, postpartum psychosis is much more rare and seen only 1 in 1,000 new mothers.

Jobs and Family Services took custody of Jayniah earlier this month following a court motion that stated the child could be in immediate danger in its surroundings.

Watkins was not to be alone with the child. However, an aunt who received custody allowed Watkins to move in.

Careatha White, Jayniah's paternal great aunt, said she thinks Watkins suffered from postpartum psychosis. White blames the county's system, saying caseworkers failed the child in letting her stay with a mentally ill mother.

"This could have been avoided, seriously," said White. "Job and family services needed to be more on their A-game, investigate more in-depth with people."

But Deters has said it appeared county caseworkers did exactly as they should.

"No one has the resources to monitor a mother and neglected child 24/7. They did what they had to do and, unfortunately, this happened," said Deters.

Jobs and Family services conducted about 10 visits between January 25, when the child was placed in the new home, and March 13. After the initial placement, caseworkers visited the home January 26 and January 30, and subsequently once each week for 15-30 minutes.

During these visits, the child appeared to be healthy and in good condition.

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