Woman gets probation in daughter's death after home surgery

Dallas-Ft. Worth Star-Telegram/October 26, 2006

Abilene, Texas -- A woman whose 7-year-old daughter died after she performed surgery on her was sentenced to five years' probation.

Deziree Kay Gideon, who was arrested last year and is thought to be involved with a religious sect called the House of Yahweh, was sentenced Wednesday after she pleaded guilty to injury to a child, according to the Callahan County District Clerk's Office. She faced a maximum punishment of life in prison.

Gideon, 36, used a scalpel to try to remove an infected area off the leg of her daughter, Terri Silas, at a neighbor's home in 2003, authorities said. The girl was taken to an Abilene hospital and later to a Fort Worth hospital, where she died.

The incident occurred at the home of Gideon's neighbor, Rebekah Hawkins, who is to stand trial Monday. Gideon has agreed to testify against Hawkins, who is accused of assisting in the surgery.

The House of Yahweh is an Old Testament-based group that gained notoriety in 1996 when several hundred of its followers changed their last names to Hawkins. That was in honor of the sect's founder, Yisrayl Hawkins, who changed his name from Bill after leaving the Abilene Police Department in 1977.

He founded the group, with headquarters in Abilene and a 50-acre compound in Callahan County, in 1980.

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