McCandless mom who drowned sons sentenced

PITTSBURGH — A McCandless woman who drowned her two young sons in the family’s bathtub in 2014 was sentenced Wednesday.

Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey Manning sentenced Laurel Schlemmer, 44, to 30-80 years in prison.

RELATED: 6 things to know about Laurel Schlemmer, mom convicted of drowning two sons

In March, Manning found Schlemmer guilty of third-degree murder, but mentally ill.

Schlemmer drowned her sons Daniel, 6, and Luke, 3, in a bathtub at their McCandless home. She told police she thought her boys would be better off in heaven.


During sentencing Wednesday, Schlemmer told the judge she fully accepts responsibility for what she had done.

"I wish with all my heart I could undo all the harm to have my precious boys back," she said.

Her family did not speak on her behalf or offer any statements.

Instead, two of her friends portrayed Schlemmer as a caring wife and mother.


During the trial, it was revealed she had tried to kill her two sons a year earlier by running them over with her van.

"The court is not in the forgiveness business," Manning said. "Upon parole eligibility at the expiration of the minimum sentence, Ms. Schlemmer will be in her 70s beyond child bearing years and her surviving son will be a 30-some year adult. So we as society are left with punishment. And the punishments for murderers are decidedly severe."

The district attorney's spokesman told Channel 11 that finding a solution to mental illness isn't easy, but no one should forget the real victims in this case.

"We lost two young boys as a result of this crime," Mike Manko said. "We will never know what they could have accomplished if it wasn't for the actions of this defendant."

Schlemmer told the judge after learning about her mental illness from doctors, she went through a stage where she was depressed about what happened and was suicidal.

She followed by saying she now fully accepts responsibility.