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Crime & Courts

DeKalb woman gets 32 years in prison for child’s murder

SYCAMORE – A DeKalb woman who murdered a 15-month-old boy has been sentenced to 32 years in prison as part of a plea deal with prosecutors.

Jessica Breuer, 27, formerly of 507 E. Taylor St., DeKalb, was charged with first-degree murder in 2014. Authorities said Breuer was holding John B. Hawks on April 23, 2014, when the child bit her on the chest, angering her so much she squeezed his neck for 10 to 12 minutes while the boy’s mother slept nearby.

Breuer called 911 after noticing the child’s body had gone limp, and he was flown to Rockford Memorial Hospital with a brain injury. Hawks died May 16, 2014.

Breuer could have faced up to life in prison if convicted of first-degree murder.

Judge Robbin Stuckert sentenced Breuer earlier this month after prosecutors reached a deal with Breuer and her attorney, DeKalb County Public Defender Tom McCulloch. In exchange for the guilty plea, prosecutors agreed to drop charges of aggravated battery to a child, aggravated battery of a police officer and three other charges.

Before the sentencing, family members read “extremely powerful” victim impact statements, Assistant State’s Attorney Stephanie Klein said.

Those statements have been impounded.

McCulloch declined to comment on the case.

Prosecutors reached the plea agreement after consulting with the victim’s family and considering the evidence in the case.

In 2014, McCulloch had questioned whether Breuer had the mental capacity to stand trial, after he said she had hallucinations before appearing in court.

However, she later was deemed fit for trial.

Breuer has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder, according to court documents.

A judge subpoenaed 14,000 pages of medical records in preparation for a September jury trial. A deal was reached after the trial date was set.

Breuer will have to serve the full sentence, but will get credit for the 828 days she spent in the DeKalb County Jail.

She has been taken to Logan Correctional Center near Lincoln, according to the Illinois Department of Corrections.

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