Brittany Renne Pilkington, a woman from Ohio, United States, accused of suffocating her three sons, has confessed that she committed the crime because she feared that they will grow up to abuse women.
The 27-year-old was scheduled for trial next year, but was sentenced to 37 years in prison, after her guilty plea to voluntary manslaughter and murder helped her to escape the death penalty on Tuesday.
She was said to have been impregnated by her mother’s boyfriend Joseph Pilkington, 47, when she was 17.
Brittany’s three-month-old son, Noah, was found dead in August 2015 in their apartment in Bellefontaine, western Ohio.
Gavin, her four-year-old son, had died in April 2015, and toddler, Niall, had died in July 2014.
Their mother confessed to killing them the day Noah was found, telling police in a taped confession that she was depressed and worried that her sons would eventually become abusive toward women.
Joseph, to whom she later got married to, also pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of sexual imposition, for having sex with her before they were married, and when she was underage.
Joseph was originally charged with sexual battery for beginning a sexual relationship with Brittany, who was 20 years younger when he impregnated her in 2009.
He had a romantic relationship with his wife’s mother before that, and his indictment indicated that he had been living with Brittany as a stepfather for years.
However, he was not considered a suspect in the boys’ murder.
Logan County prosecutors claimed that Brittany killed her sons because she was jealous of the attention her husband paid to them, and not to her and their daughter.
But one of her lawyers, Kort Gatterdam, claimed that she suffered lead poisoning as a child, followed by years of physical and sexual abuse with no intervention from authorities.
Gatterdam stated that her parents, social service agencies and schools failed to protect her, which led to a brain damage.
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“Sadly, she´s safer living a better life in jail than on the outside,” Gatterdam said, calling his client ‘irreparably damaged’.
Brittany had initially pleaded “not guilty” to aggravated murder charges.
Prosecutors wanted her to go through genetic testing, in order to rule out genetic disorders as a cause of death for the three boys.
But Judge Mark Connor ordered that the defendant’s sentences run back to back, because of the seriousness of the crimes, granting the prayers of the prosecutors.
Logan County Prosecutor, Eric Stewart, said the sentence would bring “justice and closure to this tragic case and protect the community from the defendant.”
He noted that one of the state’s experts said the death penalty was not appropriate due to the suspect’s “mental defects.”