A Maryland mother who suffocated her two children to death was sentenced to 45 years in prison Wednesday.
26-year-old Sonya Spoon put plastic bags over the heads of her children; 22-month-old son Ayden and 3-year-old daughter Kayla, and sealed them with duct tape before attempting suicide. The killings occurred in September 2014, barely a week after she was hospitalized and for an emergency mental health evaluation and released, according to The Washington Post.
Pavi Spoon, Sonya’s adoptive mother, said her daughter has long suffered from mental illness, despite never being officially diagnosed. Abandoned at 4-months-old, she spent three years in a Russian orphanage before being adopted by American parents. She later sustained a traumatic brain injury when she was 18, the result of a car crash. In court, Maryland psychiatrist Susan Fiester said she suffered from attachment disorder and post-partum depression. Fiester believes a custody battle with Kayla’s father is what pushed her over the edge. “She was so distraught, and the depression became so severe that she actually became suicidal,” Fiester said.
Pavi Spoon called police after Sonya had threatened to kill herself and her daughter in the days leading up to the double homicide. She was released just four days later with a prescription for anti-depressants, which doctors said would make her feel better. According to NBC News, police in Cheverly, Maryland said they did all they could legally do under the circumstances. Less than two days after her release a family member found the children with plastic bags taped over their heads. They were unresponsive and taken to an area hospital where they later died.
Despite her history of troubles, Spoon was found competent to stand trial. Maryland prosecutors were unmoved by her problems and the failings of mental health professionals, with Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Angela Alsobrooks saying “She’s not a victim. These children are victims,” according to Washington’s WTOP. At her sentencing, a soft-spoken Spoon apologized to her children “for taking their lives.” She then said “I don’t know exactly what’s wrong with me. What I did was horribly wrong. I wasn’t well and couldn’t see clearly what was going on.”
[Photo: Prince George’s County Police]