Andrew Burd, was a rambunctious happy child. He'd lived with his biological mother until chil services removed him from the home due to neglect. His mother, who is reported to have had drug problems couldn't care for Andrew, so he was placed with a foster mother- Sharon Hamil. During the capital murder trial of Hannah Overton, Mrs. Hamil was asked:
How would you describe his disposition?
Happy. He was always happy. He was always happy. I didn't find him to have a bad disposition. If he were corrected, he was like any other child. He didn't like it.Then she was asked about his health.
Was Andrew healthy?
Yes, yes, he was.
And as part of your duties as a foster parent, ddo you have to take him for healthy child wellness examinations?
Yes. And also he was on WIC, where he got a check every six months, I think. So he was always healthy.
Did he appear to you to have any type of mental retardation?
No, no, not at all.
Did he appear to you to be intelligent?
Did he appear to you to exhibit any signs of autism?
Did he appear to you to have any kind of mental issue, mental disability?
Sharon Hamil had taken in over 300 children in her time as a foster parent, many of those children were taken from abusive homes, and it's likely that some had mental disabilities. Both her son and daughter in law work with children with disabilities. It should be apparent that she, better than most, could tell the difference between a child with special needs, and a healthy, happy, well adjusted little boy.
But the portrait of Andrew that Sharon Hamil shares, isn't the same that the defense would like to paint. They want you to see this child- this four year old boy with no documented health - physical or mental- issues was so disturbed, so completely out of control that he went on a rampage and ate enough salt laced seasoning that he killed himself.
Did this to himself:
That is the explanation that Hannah Overton's lawyers want you to believe. That her church has paraded out to the mass media as the Gospel Truth.
And the other details of the case? The ones that seem almost impossible to explain away?
Andrew's bed, a sheet of plywood with a video camera pointed directly at it? They'd like you to believe that it was only that way for a moment. Andrew, the four year old boy who'd been potty trained, who wasn't a child with mental issues, wasn't prone to acting out during the 18 or so months he'd lived with Sharon Hamil... he'd given to willingly soiling himself. In fact, according to Hannah it was so bad that she was sure he was doing it to spite her. Of course, these reports come out later- not during conversations with case workers, not during conversations with doctors- but later, as an excuse to explain the rough plywood bed labeled as Andrews bed.
The defense would like to you believe that the sheets, which had been on a mattress, which had at some point been on the sheet of plywood, had been disposed of. Andrew's special sheets. His favorite ones with super hero's on them. They'd gotten so dirty because of his soiling himself- the only reasonable way to 'take care of the sheets' was to burn them. Some parents might wash them. Others might throw them away. And, a few out there might actually burn dirty sheets... but I wonder- how many would burn soiled- we're talking soiled as in the child had had a bowel movement in them- on their grill. Presumably, the same grill they cooked their food on.
And, then there is the excuse about how the kids said pepper, and everyone but the Overton's misunderstood. Because you see, the family drank Dr. Pepper, and so the kids when talking- became confused and said their parents gave them pepper. Not the burning, spicy pepper you use when cooking, but the drink. Yes... the kids must have been confused during those interviews with investigators, the kids must have been talking about Dr Pepper. After all- as Issac Overton stated- it's spicy and burns your mouth.