Crime

Modesto mother who stabbed 13-year-old autistic son found suitable for parole

FILE PHOTO — Ashwood Village Apartments well wishers on Sept. 27, 2010 stand near the growing pile of stuffed animals, candles, flowers, hand made messages for Miles Hankins. The 13-year-old was found in his home with multiple stab wounds.
FILE PHOTO — Ashwood Village Apartments well wishers on Sept. 27, 2010 stand near the growing pile of stuffed animals, candles, flowers, hand made messages for Miles Hankins. The 13-year-old was found in his home with multiple stab wounds. The Modesto Bee

Modesto police officers found 13-year-old Miles Hankins with multiple stab wounds and his feet bound with rope in his apartment’s hallway. His mother, Anitra Hankins, was soon arrested and later convicted of attacking her son with a knife.

The mother was sentenced to seven years to life in prison as part of a plea deal with prosecutors. Fours years later, Anitra Hankins has been found suitable for parole, prosecutors announced Wednesday. But it’s unclear when she will be released.

State parole officials have 120 days to review the decision. Then, the Governor’s Office will review Hankins’ case and determine whether to uphold, overturn or modify the state parole board’s decision.

On Thursday, Hankins, 44, remained in custody at the Central California Women’s Facility in Chowchilla. At the time of her sentencing, her son had recovered from his injuries after surgery and was living with relatives outside the state.

Hankins called 911 on the night of the incident to report that her son was hurt, Modesto police officials have said. She refused to provide authorities with further details.

Anitra Hankins
Anitra Hankins Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department

When officers found the injured boy inside her home in Ashwood Village Apartments on Rumble Road, Hankins appeared to be in a state of shock and was not fully cooperating with investigators, according to police.

Prosecutors said Hankins told her son to lie down, tied him up and then repeatedly stabbed him with a knife and hit him in the head with a heavy clock.

In a 2005 bankruptcy filing, Hankins listed her occupation as a caregiver for her son through Stanislaus County’s In-Home Supportive Services program. Her neighbors told The Modesto Bee that Hankins and her son lived alone, and aides came to the home daily to help care for the boy. They said at the time that Miles needed help with eating, bathing, dressing and other tasks.

The neighbors have described Hankins as a loving single mother who devoted her life to her son. Months before the stabbing, Hankins held a prayer vigil for her son the day before he was scheduled to undergo a series of surgeries and medical procedures.

Miles was described by the neighbors as a sweet boy who liked being around people but was getting harder to control as he grew bigger and stronger.

In January 2015, Hankins pleaded guilty to attempted murder in the stabbing of her son. She admitted in court that it was a premeditated attack, an enhancement that made her punishment a possible life sentence.

In exchange for her plea, prosecutors dropped enhancements for using a deadly weapon – the knife – and inflicting great bodily injury. At the time, she had already served more than four years of that sentence while in custody at the Stanislaus County Jail.

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Hankins was found suitable for parole at a Dec. 21 hearing at the Chowchilla prison, according to a news release this week from the Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office.

Deputy District Attorney John R. Mayne, who prosecuted the case, attended last month’s parole hearing. He argued that Hankins should remain in prison because of the “callous nature” of the crime.

The prosecutor also argued Hankins — in a 2015 interview with a prison psychologist — denied being violent with her son before the stabbing, though she had previously admitted to beating her son.

Since her 2010 arrest, Hankins has undergone psychiatric treatment. Parole officials found In granting her parole, Hankins had made substantial changes in her attitude since her 2017 parole hearing, and she agreed that she should not see her son unless the current professionals treating him believe it would be in his best interest, according to prosecutors.

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Rosalio Ahumada writes news stories about criminal court cases in Stanislaus County for The Modesto Bee, issues related to immigration and immigrant communities and breaking news related to crime and public safety. From time to time, he covers the Modesto City Council meetings. He has worked as a news reporter in the Northern San Joaquin Valley since 2004.


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