A woman who drowned her two youngest sons in their bathtub has been sentenced to 30 to 80 years in prison Wednesday.
Judge Jeffrey Manning gave her two 15-40 year sentences for each murder, to run consecutively. She will face a minimum of 30 years. The judge called the sentence imposed a de-facto life term given the defendant’s age.
Judge Manning in March found 44-year-old Laurel Schlemmer, of McCandless, guilty but mentally ill of third-degree murder after hearing three days of testimony and arguments.
RabbleVID user Steve sent us this video of Schlemmer leaving the courtroom after sentencing.
The defense attorney had argued that 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.
District Attorney spokesman Mike Manko reacted after the sentencing and spoke about Daniel and Luke.
“Two boys who are no longer with us as a result of this crime… It’s almost inconceivable their names were not mentioned during the sentencing hearing,” Manko said.
Schlemmer has told police that she killed the boys so she could be a better mother to their elder brother, who was 7 at the time.
The Associated Press reports psychiatrists for the prosecution and defense testified in March that Schlemmer became concerned and even obsessed with the idea that her two youngest sons were autistic and would never grow up normally, even though a battery of tests she put them through showed they did not have a disability.
Schlemmer met her husband, Mark, on a Christian singles online dating site. She has said she felt “pressured” to have more children as her husband opted not to use birth control for religious reasons.
Schlemmer also had three miscarriages and came to feel her younger sons, especially Daniel, were “foreign” to her and her husband and not as easy to raise as their oldest boy, according to Dr. Bruce Wright, the prosecution’s expert.
Schlemmer drowned the younger boys in a bathtub in their home after taking her oldest son to a school bus stop on April 1, 2014.
She had acknowledged trying to kill Luke and Daniel in April 2013 by tying their hands and feet with twine and backing over them with her car three times, but then claimed it was an accident. Police and social workers also determined it was an accident. Schlemmer told her husband days before the drownings that she wanted to confess to that crime, but he talked her out of it, prosecutors said.