Hartsville mom charged in 4 child deaths freed on $50,000 bond - WCBD-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Charleston, SC

Hartsville mom charged in 4 child deaths freed on $50,000 bond

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Hope Hawkins Hope Hawkins
Hope Hawkins appeared in front of Judge Paul Burch for her 2nd bond hearing since April Hope Hawkins appeared in front of Judge Paul Burch for her 2nd bond hearing since April
HARTSVILLE, SC -

A Hartsville woman charged in connection with the deaths of her four young children was released from jail after her bond was lowered to $50,000 in a ruling Tuesday. 

Judge Paul Burch said that after much consideration he decided to reduce Hawkins' bond because she has no previous record, there is no evidence of drug abuse or use, and there is no indication of premeditation.  Judge Burch also told Hawkins that once she was out on bond she could not leave the state of South Carolina or be alone or live with anyone under the age of 18. 

Her mother, Leigh, was present in court along with several other family members who were very happy with Judge Burch's decision.

"I got what I wanted! My baby's home!" said Leigh.  "She's home, no more worrying! Thank you Lord Jesus!"

Hope Hawkins, age 21, was indicted last week on various charges including new charges of  involuntary manslaughter in the April deaths of her children ages 10 months to 4 years of age.

 Authorities say that Hawkins was not at the home when a fire broke out, swept through the mobile home and killed the children; however Hawkins' attorney, Tonya Copeland Little told News 13 otherwise on Tuesday afternoon.

Little said that according to her phone records, Hawkins was actually the first to dial 911, but because she was so frantic, dialed "699" instead.  Little also stated that they have an eyewitness that puts Hawkins at the mailbox in front of the house at the time of the fire.

"She's innocent until proven guilty, they say she wasn't home, but nobody knows that," said Tamika Wright, Hawkins' aunt.  "The only people who know what happened are Hope, those kids and God, so they need to stop judging her."

Hawkins appeared at an earlier bond hearing last month where a judge left her bond unchanged at $80,000. 

But, in the bond ruling at 2 pm Tuesday,  Judge Burch set an accumulative bond of $50,000.

Hawkins walked out of jail around 5:50 pm Tuesday and only shook her head when asked if she had something to say to reporters; but her cousin Katherine Douglas said that she was very happy to coming home, where she can continue to grieve over the loss of her four children.

  At her initial bond hearing in April the judge denied bond for homicide charges and set bond at $20,000 per count of unlawful neglect.

In Hawkins' last bond hearing on May 21, the judge said bond was under advisement and a decision will be made this month, after the grand jury met to consider the involuntary manslaughter charges.

A trial date has not yet been set.

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