Aleah Newell, 20, was charged on Saturday with two counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted first-degree murder in the deaths of her 7-month-old Ameer and 2-year-old son Johntavis, according to the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office. Newell was charged while in critical condition at the University of Chicago Medical Center.
Newell’s 70-year-old grandfather, Cordell Walker, was stabbed 10 times and is expected to survive, according to WGN9.
The children were taken to Comer Children’s Hospital where they were pronounced dead.
“I don’t know why it happened,” Zera Newell, the children’s grandmother, told ABC 7 Chicago. “Why she killed my grandkids.”
Police were called to Water’s Edge Apartments in Chicago’s South Shore just before 2 a.m. on Thursday where they found Newell and Johntavis on the ground outside the building. Inside they found Walker “moaning in a pool of blood.” Ameer found dead in the bathtub. He sustained 19 stab wounds in the head and had blisters from the scalding water, police said.
Prosecutors say Newell was using the bath at Walker’s apartment when the 70-year-old came in to use the toilet. She hit him in the head with a towel bar before grabbing a knife and stabbing him repeatedly, they said.
According to court documents, she went into the living room and picked up her 2-year-old before throwing him out of the 11th story window. Newell jumped roughly 20 seconds later, crashing through a window washer scaffold on the third floor and fell onto the concrete. She suffered a broken wrist and ankle.
The crash was heard by a building security worker who called 911.
Judge Susana Ortiz called Newell’s alleged crimes “reflective of wanton cruelty,” and ordered her jailed without bail, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
Newell, who stayed at a Chicago homeless shelter from Monday to Wednesday morning, told an acquaintance that she “couldn’t take care of the kids,” according to ABC 7 Chicago. She was diagnosed with a mood disorder after an attempted suicide attempt during the summer, prosecutors said.
Newell also told her mother that she wanted to “get her life together,” the outlet reported.
If her condition improves, Newell is set to appear in court on Monday, according to prosecutors.