A Pennsylvania woman who drowned her two sons in a bathtub had previously tried to kill them by running over the boys, prosecutors say.
According to the Associated Press, Laurel Schlemmer has been charged with killing her two sons, 6-year-old Daniel and 3-year-old Luke, in April 2014.
Authorities say Schlemmer murdered the two boys because she wanted to focus all her attention on their older brother, who was 7 at the time.
On the day in question, police say Schlemmer walked her eldest son to school before returning home to plot the murders, because she was “fixated that Daniel and Luke were not normal children.”
Allegheny County Assistant District Attorney Lisa Pellegrino also told the judge in her opening statement that Schlemmer believed she would be a better mother to her oldest son if the other two boys were “in heaven.”
Schlemmer’s attorney, Michael Machen, is reportedly going to try to argue that Schlemmer was insane or operating under diminished mental capacity at the time of the murders.
Pellegrino, however, fully intends to prove that Schlemmer knew exactly what she was doing, and that she had been planning her sons’ deaths for quite some time.
In court, Pellegrino reportedly played a recording of a 911 call in which Schlemmer told a dispatcher she had let the boys play in the bathtub alone while she “went to the restroom and took longer than I should have or planned and, when I came back, they were unconscious.”
By the time McCandless Township Officer Todd Ray arrived at the scene, he noted that the boys had been dried off.
According to Ray, the boys’ had damp, but combed, hair and they were lying next to one another.
Meanwhile, Schlemmer had already changed into dry clothes, even in the midst of all the chaos.
Pellegrino argued in court that Schlemmer had held both boys’ heads under water and sat on top of them until she believed they were dead.
Luke died that day while Daniel passed away four days later.
According to authorities, the boys’ father, Mark, was at work at the time of the incident.
Ross Township Officer Michael Thomas reportedly testified in court that he was called to a mall parking lot in September 2009 after security workers discovered Daniel in a parked vehicle, which was about 112 degrees inside at the time.
A few years later, in April 2013, several witnesses testified that Luke and Daniel had been run over by Schlemmer’s van.
Prosecutors are reportedly seeking first-degree murder charges against Schlemmer.