Press "Enter" to skip to content

Gun-toting child, family on way back to Alabama

By Walter Geiger A six-year-old boy who took two rusty revolvers to his first day of classes at Pike County Primary School Sept. 29 will soon be on his way back to Alabama with his pregnant mother and two siblings after a juvenile court hearing here Tuesday morning. Judge Ben Miller Jr. dismissed a motion that Georgia take jurisdiction in the case, clearing the way for the move. The parents of the boy, Jaime and Brian Hawsey, each testified at the hearing. They were represented by public defender Amanda Johns. Johns argued that Jaime Hawsey was forced by DHR in Alabama to move here. DFCS attorney Tammy Griner agreed with Johns’ assessment as did Charles O’Neill, the attorney appointed to look out for the best interests of the six-year-old. Johns objected briefly to the presence of news media at the hearing but Judge Miller denied the objection with restrictions. “It is imperative the public has trust in the court system,” the judge said. Under oath and prompted by Johns, Jaime Hawsey testified she has three kids ages six, five and two and is 23 weeks pregnant with a fourth. She said she was forced to leave Alabama or DHR there was going to take her children. She testified she was staying at a Colonial Inn in Brewton, Alabama. Checkout time was 11 a.m. DHR caseworker Leah Gibson arrived at 10:30 with the move or lose the kids ultimatum. “I had 30 minutes to decide. I decided to take the bus tickets,” Jaime Hawsey said. Johns noted this sort of action is common and called it ‘Greyhound therapy’. Jaime Hawsey said she wanted to go home but could not because Georgia had custody of the children. She said she had lived in Alabama all her life. Johns argued Jaime Hawsey has no high school diploma, no GED and is pregnant again. “Her opportunity for employment in Pike County is very limited. She has more family and support in Alabama,” Johns said. Hawsey testified she had no marital problems and that her husband stayed in Alabama to work. She said she was willing to go home immediately and that the guns belonged to her sister. She said they were unloaded revolvers that her sister considered family heirlooms and that they were kept in the sister’s underwear drawer. Judge Miller examined photos of the guns and agreed with that assessment. Jaime Hawsey and Johns stressed as they did at a previous hearing that the guns were not in the book bag the night before the incident because she checked it. She did not check the bag the morning the child left for school, she said. Brian Hawsey also took the stand. He noted he was present at the motel when Alabama DHR issued the move or have the kids taken ultimatum. He said he had no intent to move here and thought it was just a temporary situation. Griner noted the children were taken into protective custody because of the aunt’s home was not childproof not because of any abuse. Johns and Jaime Hawsey said the home had been childproofed since the original visit. The aunt’s children are in their teens or older, Johns said. ”The department has no problem with the family returning to Alabama,” Griner said. Judge Miller asked if Griner had spoken to officials in Alabama. She answered in the affirmative and said the caseworker there admitted buying the bus tickets. ”I don’t think there is any doubt that the federal government will be interested in hearing about the circumstances in this case,” Griner added. Griner said the family was going to live with Brian Hawsey’s parents. Judge Miller drew assurances from Griner that the home was adequate and had no protective custody history. The judge then asked for an opinion from O’Neill. ”The child needs counseling. I expect he was afraid of going to a new school and took the guns for protection,” O’Neil said. He was also critical of the Escambia County caseworker. “This family was, in effect, run out of town on a rail,” he added. Judge Miller noted the seriousness of the child’s actions. ”The guns were functional. That gives this court great pause. In this day and time, something like this must be taken very seriously,” he said. He also faulted the bureaucracy in Alabama. ”It is clear to me they don’t intend to make Pike County their permanent domicile. I question whether Escambia County’s actions are in compliance with federal law. This so-called Greyhound therapy is disgusting. Alabama is just dumping their problems on another jurisdiction,” the judge continued. After admonishing Jaime Hawsey to get an education and not to use any controlled substance not prescribed for her, he dismissed the motion for temporary custody. He ordered Griner to prepare an order to that effect. ”Notify DHR in Escambia County this family is on the way back and that they are to provide mandated services,” Judge Miller concluded.

Be First to Comment

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    Website by - Copyright 2021