PITTSBURGH — A Pennsylvania woman who drowned her two youngest sons in their bathtub because she felt it would enable her to be a better mother to their older brother was sentenced to 30 to 80 years in prison.
Allegheny County Judge Jeffrey Manning called the sentence imposed Wednesday on 44-year-old Laurel Schlemmer a de facto life term given her age.
The judge found Schlemmer guilty but mentally ill of two counts of third-degree murder in March, so she will begin her sentence in a state mental hospital and be moved to prison if doctors ever deem her cured.
Her attorney had argued her diminished mental capacity kept her from forming the intent to kill her sons, 6-year-old Daniel and 3-year-old Luke, in April 2014.
parents, and surviving son, who was 7 years old at the time of the incident, weren’t in court.
Manning had delayed the sentencing for a month, because he was concerned Schlemmer might not be mentally competent.
Doctors told the judge before trial that she often wouldn’t take her medications and her symptoms were aggravated.