By Julie Grant

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The McCandless woman convicted of murdering two of her sons by drowning them in the bathtub has learned her fate.

Laurel Schlemmer was found guilty but mentally ill back in March of two counts of third-degree murder. Now, she will spend the next 30 to 80 years in prison.

She received what is called a de facto life sentence. Even though it is not life in prison, it exceeds the human life span.

President Judge Jeffrey Manning said that is how it should be because Schlemmer took two innocent lives.

Schlemmer appeared calm as she was led out of her home on April 14, 2014. Hours later, she admitted to killing her sons by sitting on them in the bath water. Daniel was 6, and Luke was 3.

“These crazy voices were prompting me to act irrationally,” said Schlemmer.

Schlemmer, who was 41 at the time of the crimes, told police she thought she could be a better mother to her 7-year-old son if her two younger sons were in heaven.

“And I got in there with them and held them underwater,” said Schlemmer.

On Sept. 13, 2017, Schlemmer covered her face with a folder as deputies led her to the courtroom. She was composed reading a statement to the court, saying in part, “The person who committed to these acts was not the real me.”

She continued, and said, “My favorite years of my life were those when I was a good, healthy mom.”

In sentencing her to spend the next 30 to 80 years behind bars, Judge Manning said, “This case conjures up all of the philosophical justification for sentencing a defendant whose conduct was so reprehensible that it shocks the conscience of the community, the criminal justice system and would shock the conscience of the defendant if she exhibited the capacity to reflect upon it.”

After the sentencing, Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office spokesperson Mike Manko said, “We lost two young boys as a result of this crime. We will never know what they could have amounted to, what they could have accomplished and what wonderful lives they might have led.

Something that was odd about this hearing was that nobody spoke on behalf of those two boys who were killed. Prosecutor Lisa Pellegrini said she has never seen a homicide case where there were no victim impact statements.

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