Free Hannah!!!

by Janice

Tonight, I curled up on the couch with a bowl of popcorn, exhausted and ready to relax.

But instead of relaxing before I turned in for an early night, I watched a story that shocked and enraged me.

As the show progressed, I kept hoping for a happy ending – that when the judge announced the verdict, I would hear “not guilty.” Then I would sigh in relief, go rinse out my popcorn bowl and kiss my kids goodnight with a peaceful heart that the justice system had worked.

But it wasn’t a happy ending! I watched a real life nightmare. Now, I am angry and ready to fight to return a mother to her family.

Did you also see 20/20’s story on Hannah Overton? Hannah is the mother of five convicted of capital murder in the death of Andew Burd, the four year old boy she and her husband Larry were adopting from the foster system.

After watching the story, I felt helpless and furious. So I went online to see if I could find out more – and to see if there is anything I do to help.

I went to and discovered

If you want to learn more about this case and how to help fight this injustice, visit You can send the family support and have your voice heard!

Make sure you read some of Hannah’s letters while you are at the site. She is doing incredible ministry while in prison. Her faith and selflessness is amazing as she serves God in the midst of her trials.



Hannah Overton was found guilty of capital murder “by omission,” also referred to as “failure to act” – by delaying in seeking medical attention for Andrew Burd, the four year old boy that she and her husband Larry were adopting from the foster system. Andrew died from hypernatremia, or sodium intoxication, commonly called “salt poisoning.” His first symptom was vomiting, then chills. Hannah initially treated the symptoms, not aware of what was wrong.

Hypernatremia is extremely difficult to diagnose, virtually impossible to treat once it reaches a threshold point, and takes about an hour and a half before the symptoms fully manifest. That’s exactly the amount of time it was before Hannah and her husband Larry arrived with Andrew at the nearest Urgent Care clinic, having driven him there because they feared an ambulance would take too long. Medical staff at the 2nd hospital where he was taken had to run lab tests to get an accurate diagnosis of his condition.

Prosecutors asked the jury to find Hannah guilty of intentionally poisoning Andrew. The jury instructions and charge also gave them the option to find her guilty of omission – of delaying seeking medical help – without specifying that they believed that she intended or even knew that a delay would cause him harm. Hannah’s defense attorneys objected to the latter charge, but the judge allowed it to stand. A poll of all 12 jurors revealed that all found her guilty of “omission,” but not of poisoning Andrew. The jury was not aware of the mandatory sentence for capital murder – which in Texas is either execution or life without parole. She received the latter sentence.

She awaits her appeal. Oral arguments are scheduled for Sept 11, 2008.
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Email Author    |    Website About Janice

Janice is co-founder of 5 Minutes For Mom. She's been working online since 2003 and is thankful her days are full of social media, writing and photography. You can see more of her photos at

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