CONROE, Texas — A Houston woman accused of killing a mother and abducting her newborn son last year avoided a possible death sentence by pleading guilty Tuesday and accepting a sentence of life in prison without parole.
Verna McClain was awaiting trial on a capital murder charge for the April 2012 fatal shooting of 28-year-old Kala Golden-Schuchardt. Authorities said McClain waited outside a pediatrician’s office in the Houston suburb of Spring looking for a baby to kidnap. Witnesses said she repeatedly shot Golden-Schuchardt, then grabbed her three-day-old son, Keegan, from her truck and drove away.
The infant was found hours later with McClain’s sister, who told authorities McClain intended to adopt the child. Investigators and McClain’s relatives said she had a miscarriage and was desperate to find a baby to pass off as her own so her boyfriend wouldn’t leave her.
Montgomery County prosecutors had said they would seek the death penalty against McClain, 32. But Montgomery County District Attorney Brett Ligon said Tuesday that the plea agreement was about giving Golden-Schuchardt’s family closure in the criminal case.