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Judith Hawkey coerced her 10-year-old stepson Corey Breininger to kill his father: Evil Lives Here examines the case

Mugshot of Judith Hawkey
Judith Hawkey pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and child endangering charges. Pic credit: Defiance County Sheriff’s Office

Robert Breininger was shot dead at his home in 2003 in Defiance, Ohio, in what first appeared to be a tragic accident. Ten years later, Robert’s son Corey told a former teacher that his stepmother, Judith Hawkey, had persuaded him to shoot his father and make it look like an accident. Corey was only 10-years-old at the time.

In a case that remains controversial, it is still unclear precisely what happened in the autumn of 2003. However, it is clear that Corey fired the shot that killed his father, but he claims Hawkey coerced him. Corey says that Hawkey told him his father had a brain tumor and wanted to die.

Hawkey maintained that Corey shot his father after learning that he was to be sent to a tough military school. Investigators concluded that Hawkey wanted her husband dead so she could collect a life insurance payout of $500,000; she had already begun the paperwork the day after the shooting.

In 2013, a jury sided with Corey’s version of events, and Hawkey was sentenced to life in prison for the murder. However, three years later, another court deemed that certain testimony from three witnesses should have been admitted and ordered a second trial.

A new trial was planned for the spring of 2019; however, before going into the dock, Hawkey made a deal by pleading guilty to involuntary manslaughter and child endangering charges. This meant that she avoided admitting to murder but acknowledged that prosecutors had enough to charge her with the crime.

Corey Breininger has never been charged in the case.

In 2013 Hawkey said of Corey: “He made up the whole story. I will be back for another time because I did not do this.”

Meanwhile, Corey posted  on Facebook that, “I already made the promise that as long as I had a breath, I would fight to keep her behind bars.”

Catch the details of the case on Evil Lives Here at 9/8c on Investigation Discovery.


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