Nation

Mother gets 30 to 80 years in sons’ bathtub drownings

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.

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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.

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Schlemmer’s husband,
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.

associated press