Hawkbear appears in court to set trial schedule
Whisper Hawkbear appeared in court on Sept. 6 for a scheduling hearing with Judge John Parker.
Parker told the attorneys that he was holding the scheduling hearing for a “case of this magnitude” to create plan to ensure the case would move forward.
Hawkbear was charged in April with deliberate homicide for the death of her two-month-old son, and assault on a minor for injuries to her 16-month-old daughter.
Hawkbear is still being held in the Cascade County Adult Detention Center and her defense attorney, Amanda Gordon, said that they were requesting to move her bail hearing to a later date.
Parker said he would order the Office of the State Public Defender to appoint a co-counsel for Hawkbear’s defense to ensure the case wouldn’t be slowed by their caseload or scheduling conflicts.
Kory Larsen and Josh Racki of the Cascade County Attorney’s Office are prosecuting the case.
Parker and the lawyers are scheduling the trial for April.
Larsen said he didn’t expect the trial to take more than a week since the crime scene was largely confined to one room and they wouldn’t be calling a large number of witnesses.
Gordon said she was working to gather treatment and medical records, as well as develop the witness list for Hawkbear’s defense.
Parker and the attorneys are planning to send out jury questionnaires in an attempt to filter out potential jurors who know of the case through media accounts in an effort to speed the jury selection process.
Larsen said they’d used that approach in previous high profile local cases and Gordon said she was going to ask for that approach had it not been suggested by the prosecution or the judge.
Parker said that another case against Hawkbear may take a longer track than the criminal case in his court.
That case is a youth in need of care case filed by the Montana Department of Health and Human Services to determine Hawkbear’s parental rights for the 16-month-old daughter.
In April, Sheriff Jesse Slaughter released the autopsy results for Ezekiel Contreras, the two-month-old infant.
Slaughter said that the autopsy determined that the cause of death was blunt force injuries and the manner of death was homicide.
The Great Falls Police Department is investigating the infant’s death and Hawkbear was charged.
The GFPD responded to a welfare check at an apartment at 2215 23rd Ave. S. at 4:15 a.m. on April 21.
A welfare check had been called around 2:30 a.m. but Hawkbear told dispatchers she would go to the hospital and the call was canceled, according to court charging documents.
Officers responded to the second call, during which Hawkbear told dispatchers that she had killed her kids, and she allegedly handed Ezekiel to officers who attempted CPR on the infant, according to charging documents.
A 16-month-old child was crying in the bedroom and had blood on her face and a laceration to her nose, according to court documents.
The two-month-old was transported to the Benefis Health System emergency department where he was pronounced dead at 5:17 a.m., according to charging documents.
During the investigation, officers learned the children’s father was out of state and had called in a welfare check on April 19 stating Hawkbear had been using drugs and he was concerned about her ability to care for the children, according to court documents.
Hawkbear was taken to the GFPD for an interview during which she told investigators that she had called dispatch around 2:30 a.m. because she has PTSD and anxiety and she wanted to sleep but the children wouldn’t stop crying, according to charging documents.
Hawkbear is being held on a $500,000 bond, according to the county’s jail roster.
For anyone in need of support, Toby’s House is a local crisis nursery providing urgent or emergency care for children ages 0-6 for a few hours, or all day, at no cost to families.
The facility is located at 421 5th St. N. and be reached at 406-770-3191 or firstname.lastname@example.org.