An Ohio mother has been sentenced to nearly four decades behind bars after killing her three sons because she was jealous of the attention the boys were getting from her husband.
Brittany Pilkington had been scheduled to stand trial next year but opted to take a plea deal Tuesday that carried a 37-year prison sentence for killing her three sons over a 13-month period, according to The Associated Press.
Pilkington smothered the three boys, beginning with 3-month-old Niall, who died in July 2014, local station WHIO reports. Her 4-year-old son Gavin was killed in April of 2015 and just months later, in August, her 3-month-old son Noah was killed.
After Noah’s death, Pilkington admitted to investigators that she had killed the boys because she was jealous of the attention her husband—who had once been her mother’s boyfriend—gave the boys. She felt he didn’t give the same attention to her or her daughter, prosecutors said.
Pilkington’s defense team has said they have evidence that the Ohio mom has brain damage from lead poisoning she got as a child and years of physical and sexual abuse. Some of that abuse, defense attorney Kort Gatterdam said, came from Joe Pilkington, who had been dating her mother before later marrying Pilkington.
“She had a monster in her life, from the age of 9,” Gatterdam said, according to local station WSYX. “Being shown pornography, being raped, being raped repeatedly.”
The defense team, who said they had evidence of brain damage in a brain scan, had long argued that due to her “mental defects” she should not be eligible for the death penalty.
Logan County Prosecutor Eric Stewart said prosecutors agreed after one of the state’s own experts provided information suggesting she shouldn’t qualify for the death penalty.
Stewart said the plea deal and accompanying sentence for Pilkington would bring “justice and closure to this tragic case,” according to the AP.
Joseph Pilkington pleaded guilty earlier to a misdemeanor charge of sexual imposition after it was discovered that he had sex with Pilkington while she was still a minor, the AP reports. She got pregnant in 2009 when she was 17 years old.
Brittany Pilkington did not address the court herself; however, in a statement read by attorney Tina McFall, she said she “loves and misses all of her children and grieves for them every day.”
Her surviving daughter is currently being cared for in a foster home.
One of her caretakers read a statement in court saying that whenever she gets scared the girl, now 8, talks to her brothers and believes her brothers are watching over her now, according to WSYX.
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