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Mother gets 30 to 80 years for drowning of 2 sons in bathtub

An Allegheny County judge in March found 44-year-old Laurel Schlemmer guilty but mentally ill of third-degree murder after hearing three days of testimony and arguments. (AP photo)

PITTSBURGH -- A Pennsylvania woman who drowned her two youngest sons in their bathtub because she felt that would enable her to be a better mother to their older brother has been sentenced to 30 to 80 years in prison.

An Allegheny County judge in March found 44-year-old Laurel Schlemmer guilty but mentally ill of third-degree murder after hearing three days of testimony and arguments.

The judge called the sentence imposed Wednesday a de-facto life term given the defendant's age.

The McCandless woman's 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.

Schlemmer has told police that she killed the boys in April 2014 so she could be a better mother to their elder brother, who was 7 at the time.

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