ONLY ON 3: Woman accused of trying to smother son breaks her silence
The woman accused of trying to smother her four-year-old child with a pillow spoke exclusively to Channel 3 Monday as she awaited her next court appearance.
A jury found Monica Hammers guilty of attempted aggravated child abuse in April after the alleged 2011 incident at a Chattanooga hospital.
Hammers was scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Barry Steelman Monday morning. But Hammers has since fired her attorney, Harry Christensen of Lebanon, and plans to ask for a new trial Monday afternoon. She said Christensen is recusing himself from the case in a mutual agreement.
"My attorney has been incompetent throughout the whole case," Hammers told Channel 3 Monday. "It has led to a lot of evidence and alibis not being entered into the case and therefore has led to the guilty verdict."
If the judge doesn't grant Hammers a new trial, she could face 8-12 years in prison. She said her mother and three other children (ages 24, 19 and 16) have been her moral support.
"Painful, struggling, trying to keep it together," she said of the past two years. "If you're innocent just stand your ground. That's all I can say."
Hammers remembers seeing her son for the last time two years ago. He is now in the care of his father Richard Griffin.
"I remember just telling him I was going to do laundry and I'll see him later. That's the last memory I have of my son," she said.
Monica Hammers was arrested after an observer at Erlanger Hospital claimed to have seen her put a pillow over her son's face.
When Hammers' trial began in September, a judge ruled there was not enough evidence to try her for attempted murder.
Channel 3 will follow the afternoon's developments and bring you updates on WRCBtv.com and Live at 5 and 6.
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