Judith Hawkey was in court Tuesday in Defiance County on charges she orchestrated her husband's killing back in 2003.
The death was originally ruled accidental, but further investigation led to Hawkey's arrest.
DEFIANCE COUNTY, OH (Toledo News Now) -
A shocking development in a decade-old case: A shooting, once thought to be accidental, is now being called murder. The woman being held responsible may have forced a child to do her bidding, according to the county prosecutor.
Judith Hawkey was in court Tuesday in Defiance County, on charges she orchestrated her husband's killing back in 2003.
The Defiance County Prosecuting Attorney Morris Murray told WTOL 11 these new charges came about because they uncovered new evidence. Although specific details about the nature of the new evidence were not released, prosecutors say it led to Hawkey's arrest.
The victim in this case is Hawkey's former husband, Robert Breininger, who was found dead from a single gunshot wound to the head back on Nov. 3, 2003. On that day, Defiance County Sheriff's deputies and emergency personnel responded to the home on the report of an alleged accidental shooting involving a then 10-year-old boy, Breininger's son.
According to the Defiance County Sheriff's Office, who is investigating the case, the day they got the call, deputies found Breininger in a bedroom of the couple's home in Mark Center with a single gunshot wound to the head. A coroner pronounced him dead at the scene.
"It was claimed at that time, that it was an accident shooting involving a young boy, and that's the way the matter was left," Prosecutor Murray tells WTOL 11.
The death was originally ruled accidental, but further investigation led to Hawkey's grand jury indictment in March 2013 at her first appearance in front of a judge.
"The information on what caused the investigation to be reopened as a homicide is not something I can comment on publicly," says Murray.
Now, Hawkey is facing six charges, including felony aggravated murder. Hawkey is also charged with four counts of endangering children, one of which is a second-degree felony.
Authorities allege that over a three to four-year period, Hawkey tortured and abused a child. The child was between ages 7 and 10 years during the alleged abuse.
Prosecutors tell WTOL 11 Hawkey is the only one facing charges in this case; no charges will be brought against the child.
Hawkey also faces charges for insurance fraud, in connection with an application for life insurance, which she collected after Breininger's death.
An investigation into Breininger's death is ongoing.
Hawkey is currently being held at the Corrections Center of Northwest Ohio on a $3 million bond. A pretrial hearing is set for April 1.
The Defiance County Sheriff's Office is asking anyone with information to call 419-784-1155, or contact the FBI, Crimes Against Children Task Force at 419-243-6122.
Sunday, May 19 2013 11:52 AM EDT2013-05-19 15:52:39 GMT
The National Weather Service says there is a slight risk for severe weather on Sunday, and isolated tornadoes and supercell storms are possible.The threat for severe weather will continue into Monday.StormsMore >
The National Weather Service said there is a moderate risk for severe weather on Sunday, and isolated tornadoes and supercell storms are possible.More >
By Ben Brumfield, CNN updated 7:18 AM EDT, Sun May 19, 2013STORY HIGHLIGHTSRichard DeCoatsworth took a shotgun blast to the face in the line of duty in 2007Wounded, he pursued the assailant and calledMore >
A former "top cop," who had the honor of sitting next to first lady Michelle Obama during a televised presidential speech four years ago, is facing rape allegations.
It's all about the odds, and one lone ticket in Florida has beaten them all by matching each of the numbers drawn for the highest Powerball jackpot in history at an estimated $590.5 million, lottery officials...More >
Some lucky person walked into a Publix supermarket in suburban Florida over the past few days and bought a ticket now worth an estimated $590.5 million - the highest Powerball jackpot in history.More >
Saturday, May 18 2013 2:27 PM EDT2013-05-18 18:27:31 GMT
Students are calling the death of a Harrisonville teen a rude awakening. Troopers said 16-year-old Savannah Nash pulled in front of a semi Thursday at Missouri Highway 7 and Walker Road. Savannah wasMore >
The deadly accident near Harrisonville is an opportunity for parents to talk to their teens about texting and driving, but now several smartphone companies have created apps that could put a stop to some of the dangerous behavior.More >
By Jason Moon, CNN updated 2:32 AM EDT, Sat May 18, 2013STORY HIGHLIGHTSThe explosion was caused by a meteoroid that hit the lunar surfaceIt was visible on earth without a telescopeNASA sees hundredsMore >
A meteoroid struck the surface of the moon recently, causing an explosion that was visible on Earth without the aid of a telescope, NASA reported Friday. But don't be alarmed if you didn't see it; it only lasted about a second. More >
Saturday, May 18 2013 7:40 PM EDT2013-05-18 23:40:22 GMT
A bank on the Country Club Plaza was robbed Saturday afternoon. The FBI reported the Commerce Bank located at 47th Street and Wornall Road was robbed.They have provided little details about a suspect descriptionMore >
A bank on the Country Club Plaza was robbed Saturday afternoon.More >
Saturday, May 18 2013 11:00 AM EDT2013-05-18 15:00:13 GMT
(CNN) – Chances are your smartphone contains some of your life's most important numbers, phone numbers, birthdays, maybe even bank or social security numbers. It's convenient to store so much informationMore >
It's convenient to store so much information in one place, but with wireless threats on the rise, you need to keep your personal data secure.More >
Sunday, May 19 2013 5:12 PM EDT2013-05-19 21:12:22 GMT
Passengers on a party bus ended up in the hospital early Sunday morning after a wreck. The crash happened about 3 a.m. on U.S. Highway 71 near Swope Parkway. An ambulance took several passengers to anMore >
A night out on the town ended with several people suffering minor injuries after a party bus crashed.More >