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Published: Tuesday, 6/3/2008

Toledo mother guilty in discipline of her son, 3


As a form of corporal punishment, Alshunza Hawkins would take the legs of her young son and pull them over his head - a move she referred to as a "pretzel hold" and which led to some paralysis for the 3-year-old boy.

The 24-year-old mother of five pleaded no contest in Lucas County Common Pleas Court yesterday to one count of child endangering. She faces up to eight years in prison when she is sentenced July 7.

According to Assistant County Prosecutor Jennifer Lambdin, Hawkins was disciplining her son on Feb. 22 when she held his arms up and pulled his legs over his head. The young boy tried to get away and fell, hitting his head, she added.

"She drove her unresponsive 3-year-old son to the emergency room ," Ms. Lambdin said, adding that he had "head and spinal injuries" and was placed on a ventilator.

"He still suffers from partial paralysis," she said.

Ms. Lambdin said Hawkins had also struck the young boy with a belt, creating a large mark on his body. According to Toledo Municipal Court records, Hawkins told arresting officers that she hit the child with the belt with such force that it broke in half.

Hawkins, of 306 Belmont Ave., was arrested Feb. 24 and charged with two counts of child endangering. One of the charges will be dismissed at sentencing.

Hawkins remains in custody in the Lucas County jail in lieu of $100,000 bond. Her children, including the 3-year-old boy, are being cared for by relatives, Ms. Lambdin said. She is also pregnant with her sixth child, said her attorney, William Meyer.

Because of the nature of the case and the severity of the injuries, Judge Denise Ann Dartt ordered a report from the Lucas County Court Diagnostic and Treatment Center in addition to the presentence investigation.

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