A Chicago woman accused of brutally killing her two young sons and attempting to murder her grandfather before jumping out of an 11th-floor window was denied bail at a Saturday hearing where prosecutors revealed new details of the horrific incident.
Aleah Newell, 20, faces two counts of first-degree murder after she allegedly threw 2-year-old Johntavis Newell out of an apartment window and stabbed 7-month-old Ameer Newell before putting him in a bathtub full of scalding hot water. She was also charged with one count of attempted first-degree murder for allegedly stabbing her 70-year-old grandfather numerous times.
Judge Susana Ortiz on Saturday called Newell’s alleged actions “reflective of wanton cruelty,” and ordered her to be jailed without bail, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. Newell did not attend the hearing, as she remains hospitalized for injuries she sustained after jumping out of her grandfather’s apartment window.
Prosecutors say the Jan. 2 incident began when Newell launched a savage attack on her grandfather after he came into the bathroom when she had started a hot bath. Newell allegedly walked up behind him as he entered, put him in a chokehold, and hit him in the head with a towel bar, before grabbing a knife from the kitchen and stabbing him more than 10 times until he lost consciousness, prosecutors said.
Newell then allegedly stabbed her 7-month-old son Ameer 19 times in the head before leaving him to die “face-down” in “scalding hot water in the bathtub,” where he suffered extensive burns, according to prosecutors.
Prosecutors say she then cut a hole in the apartment’s window screen and threw 2-year-old Johntavis out, before jumping herself. Surveillance video appeared to show that her fall was broken by scaffolding on the third floor of the building, prosecutors said. She broke her wrist and ankle, but was awake and alert after the fall.
When police arrived on the scene, they found the grandfather “moaning in a pool of blood,” and attempted CPR on Ameer, prosecutors said. The children were pronounced dead at Comer Children’s Hospital, while Newell and her grandfather were taken to the University of Chicago Medical Center, where they are both expected to survive.
At the hearing, prosecutors said Newell had previously attempted suicide during the summer of 2019, and that she took medication for an unspecified mood disorder.
Newell’s mother, Zera Newell, said Aleah was clearly struggling before the alleged murders.
Prosecutors say Zera Newell agreed to take care of the boys on Tuesday when Aleah said she “wanted to get her life together.” But when she arrived at the home on Wednesday, they weren’t home.
In an interview with the Sun-Times, Zera Newell said her daughter had stayed at a homeless shelter prior to the alleged killings and had asked staff to take the kids away from her and get her some help.
“My daughter, I don’t know what was going on, but I know deep inside she loved her kids,” Newell said.
The Salvation Army confirmed to CBS Chicago that Newell stayed at the Shield of Hope shelter for two days that week, and left Wednesday morning. Adrianne Thomas, who says she met Newell at Shield of Hope, told CBS that Newell asked for help with her children during her stay.
“She said when she first got here to intake, she asked them to take her kids, she couldn’t take care of them. They told her no, she had to do it on her own,” Thomas said. “That’s devastating for somebody that begged for help and no one helped, and now the kids are just gone.”