A 33-year-old Florida woman was sentenced to life in prison after pleading guilty to murdering her three young children in March.
On Dec. 10, Jessica McCarty sobbed as she pleaded guilty to three counts of first-degree murder at the Brevard County Courthouse in Viera, Florida, reports Daily Mail.
McCarty avoided a trial and the death penalty by pleading guilty. Some of her family members were pleased with the deal and believed life in prison was a crueler punishment, reports Daily Mail.
On March 20, McCarty killed her three children inside her Palm Bay house and then attempted to take her own life with a knife before calling 911 to report that her children were dead.
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Authorities say that Lacey McCarty, 7, drowned in the bathtub, and that her brothers Phillip McCarty, 6, and Christopher Swist, 5 months old, were choked with cords around their necks.
McCarty had Phillip and Lacey with her ex-husband, Phillip McCarty, before their relationship ended. She had her youngest son, Christopher Swist, with 30-year-old Christopher Swist, who she was involved with at the time of the killings.
McCarty told law enforcement officers that she wasn’t worthy of living as she was taken to the emergency room.
The fathers of McCarty’s children said during court they believed a life sentence was harsher than death.
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“For someone who is sentenced to death, that's a process for the survivors of a homicide to go through,” prosecutor William Respess told WKMG. “They didn’t want to go through that.”
Although McCarty had abused drugs in the past, it was her overlooked mental illness -- according to her defense attorney -- that was responsible for the murders. Authorities also said McCarty sought mental health assistance days before the murders.
She previously pleaded guilty to stealing prescription pads so she could obtain painkillers.
McCarty told detectives she had been raped twice, including once when she was 7 years old and had attempted suicide at least twice before.
“Just give me the death penalty, right here, right now. I wanted to stab myself very badly. I've wanted to kill myself for a long time,” she said as reported by Palm Bay Detective, Lewis Jones, on the day of the slaughter.
“Jessica was failed by the mental health profession, where she desperately sought help, but it was never given,” said Patricia Null, McCarty's mother. “Now we are all paying the price for that.”
A document from the Department of Children and Families said that in 2009 McCarty was examined for possible child neglect and branded an “intermediate” risk to her children because of her suicidal inclinations.
McCarty’s children had purportedly told their mother how much they loved her while she was killing them.
“She kept telling me, 'I love you mommy,'” McCarty told Florida Today in June.
She also texted pictures of the bloody house to Swist before he rushed home. He called 911 while holding the youngest, Christopher, in his arms.
Baby Christopher was on life support for two days before being confirmed dead at the hospital.