A Tennessee woman was sentenced to life in prison for murdering 4 of her children

Police line.

Photo: Tony Webster, CC BY-SA 4.0 / Wikimedia Commons

A Memphis, Tennessee, woman who stabbed four of her children to death was sentenced to life in prison on Tuesday, according to ABC News.

Criminal Court Judge James Lammey Jr. last month found Shanynthia Gardner, 34, guilty of the 2016 murders of her 4-year-old, 3-year-old, 2-year-old and 5-month-old sons. Another of her sons, who was 7 at the time, ran away to a neighbor’s house looking for help, the Shelby County district attorney’s office said.

Shanynthia Gardner has been in custody since the incident in 2016, WMC reported. In December, she was found guilty on 20 counts, including first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse and neglect.

Investigators said Gardner was 29 years old when he stabbed four of his children, all between the ages of 6 months and 4 years.

During the trial, Martin Gardner, the children’s father, said that on the day of the stabbing, Gardner told her that he was getting ready to watch a movie with the kids. He described her as calm and said that nothing seemed wrong.

Her sister also testified that Gardner had a history of mental episodes and often seemed paranoid.

In 2017, a medical expert found Gardner “mentally defective” at the time of the incident.

Gardner’s lawyers argued an insanity defense, but the judge rejected it. Prosecutors agreed that she is mentally ill but said she understood the wrongfulness of her actions, the district attorney’s office said.

Gardner was convicted of four counts of first-degree premeditated murder, aggravated child abuse, aggravated child abuse murder, aggravated child neglect with a deadly weapon, and aggravated child abuse murder with a deadly weapon.

Lammey sentenced Gardner to life in prison on each count of murder and 15 years on each of the other counts, to run concurrently.

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