A mother from Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania was sentenced to decades in prison on Monday for trying to kill her two children by asphyxiating them with exhaust fumes. In December 2015, 34-year-old Melissa Scholl put her two children, Julian and Vera who were then just 7 and 5, into her car. Then, the mother ran a hose from the exhaust pipe into the car’s window, according to the Times Leader. A bus driver witnesses the incident and intervened.
“I truly thought I would gain a sympathetic ear,” Scholl said at her sentencing, according to People. “I thought my act was harmless. I truly did.”
But, the jury rejected that defense and instead decided that she was trying to kill her children. Scholl’s lawyer said he plans to appeal the sentencing, stating he will fight it "to the death."
Scholl was found guilty in September on two counts of attempted murder. On Monday, Luzerne County Judge David Lupas handed her five to 15 years for each count of attempted murder, amounting to 10 to 30 years behind bars.
Defense attorney Larry Kansky told the court that Scholl was at her wit’s end. He accused Scholl’s husband of physically abusing her and raping her. She had filed two protection from abuse orders against him. One was filed just four months before she tried to kill her children, the Times Leader reports. Character witnesses described her as a loving albeit troubled mother.
On her way out of the courthouse, Scholl told reporters that she loves her two children. She also wished the reporters a happy Thanksgiving.