A woman was sentenced to 40 years for putting two of her children in scalding hot bath water in a case so disturbing it "haunts people at night," according to prosecutors.
Limestone County District Attorney Brian C.T. Jones said he was extremely pleased with the sentence handed down Tuesday for Amanda Reyer, 25.
“This is the kind of case that haunts people at night," he said, according to WAFF. "A lot of the people involved and the children involved can know when they go to bed, that this woman is going to prison for the next 40 years.”
Reyer put the children, who were 2 and 5 at the time, in the scalding water to punish them after they had broken a bed.
Circuit Judge Robert Baker was in tears as he delivered the sentence, telling Reyer, "Your baby was cooking. What were you thinking?" according to the Daily Mail.
Reyer pleaded guilty to two counts of aggravated child abuse as part of a plea agreement in July. Her boyfriend, Derrick Lynn Defoe, 32, has also been charged in the case, but has not yet gone to trial.
Reyer said in court that Defoe "basically dropped" her 5-year-old son into the water first. She told the judge she ran hot water and didn't remember turning on any cold water before the children were placed in the water, the Decatur Daily reports.
After being put in the water, her son cried and quickly jumped out. At the time, Reyer had been holding her 2-year-old daughter, but just let her go into the water. The girl, who suffered burns over 80 percent of her body, tried to climb out of the tub twice before she was allowed to get out.
Although she had been crying while she was in the water, "she was mute" after she had been taken out, the newspaper reports.
The scalding bath had been a punishment for the children after Defoe found the children had pulled a mattress and slats off of a bed that he had set up.
Before the sentence was handed down, Dr. Melissa Peters from the Children's of Alabama hospital in Birmingham testified that when she examined Reyer's daughter after the 2015 incident, her face was swollen and she had partial-to-full thickness burns on 80 percent of her body, the newspaper reports.
The young girl was then transferred to Shriner's Hospital for Children in Cincinnati, where she underwent months of surgery and physical therapy, according to The News Courier.
She will have to continue to visit the hospital until she is an adult, due to the large amount of skin grafts she had. She's already had multiple surgeries to enable her to walk.
Reyer's son also underwent skin grafting after the scalding left him with severe burns to his legs, along with steam burns on his cheeks, upper arms and upper chest, the Decatur Daily reports.
Reyer's daughter is now in the care of her paternal grandmother, who testified that the child would need to return to the hospital every two months for laser surgery to loosen her skin as she grows.
Her son is in the custody of a foster parent.
In court, Reyer apologized and said she never meant to hurt her children.
"I am very sorry. If could do over, I would put myself headfirst in that bathtub before I let my babies get hurt," she said according to the Daily Mail.
The judge, however, was not swayed by her pleas for leniency and delivered the maximum sentence.
"All I can do is punish, and I intend to do that," he said, according to the Decatur Daily.
[Photo: Limestone County Jail]
Crime Time is your destination for true crime stories from around the world, breaking crime news, and information about Oxgen's original true crime shows and documentaries. Sign up for our Crime Time Newsletter and subscribe to our true crime podcast Martinis & Murder for all the best true crime content.