A Texas mother who spent seven years in prison for the salt-poisoning death of a foster child before the conviction was overturned is getting nearly $600,000 in compensation along with an annuity.
WND has reported four years ago when Hannah Overton’s conviction was overturned.
Her case drew nationwide attention because of allegations the child died of salt poisoning after being fed Zatarain’s Cajun Seasoning.
Authorities tried to file the charges again after she was released but the case now has been dismissed with a declaration that Overton is innocent.
At one point, an appeals court ruled that her lawyers had failed to provide effective assistance during her trial.
The issue was the testimony of Dr. Michael Moritz, who gave a two-hour deposition on “sodium intoxication” and how “emotional deprivation syndrome,” to which troubled children sometimes are susceptible, “is often associated with extreme eating habits.”
The doctor “concluded that applicant did not poison the child and that A.B. consuming something himself was the most likely cause of his sodium intoxication.”
ABC news reported the compensation plan for Overton.
“I’m very thankful that this compensation is finally coming through,” she told the network. “No amount of money will ever bring back the years that were taken away, and the seven years of freedom I lost. I could never thank my attorneys enough for fighting endlessly to prove my innocence and bring me home.”
Cynthia Orr, Overton’s most recent attorney, said the the Texas comptroller told Overton this week she would get $573,333.33 as compensation for her wrongful incarceration. She also is eligible for an annuity, insurance and education benefits.
“I am over the moon that Hannah has been granted compensation by Texas for her wrongful imprisonment,” Orr said to the network.
Overton always maintained her innocence.
But even though she had been released from prison several years ago, a cloud hung over her until just recently when Nueces County District Attorney Mark Gonzalez officially declared Overton innocent in the death of 4-year-old Andrew Burd.
Overton and her husband, Larry Overton, were in the process of adopting Burd more than 10 years when he died.
Authorities claimed Overton forced Burd to eat enough sodium to kill him.
Defense lawyers pointed out that the child might have had pica, an eating disorder, and he accidentally poisoned himself.
WND reported when Texas Monthly Executive Editor Pamela Colloff did an extensive examination of the case and wrote about her findings.
Colloff reported: “Prosecutors had never been able to explain, for example, how Hannah – who was six months pregnant and recovering from whiplash at the time of Andrew’s death – had managed to overpower him and force him to eat a large quantity of salt. … And they were never able to establish a plausible motive.”
The evidence showed the Overton family had been dealing with several behavioral issues and an eating disorder that involved consuming strange objects. The condition was attributed to the alcohol, crack cocaine and methamphetamine use of his birth mother before the boy was born.