Mom Gets Two Life Terms for Smothering Children in Custody Dispute

Kelli Murphy of Castle Rock, Colorado, has been found guilty of smothering her two children to death and has been sentenced to two consecutive life terms without the possibility of parole.

Lawyers argued that Murphy killed her children Liam, 9, and Madigan, 6, by smothering them with a pillow. She and her husband, Eric Murphy, were in the middle of a bitter divorce and custody suit at the time of the double murder, and prosecutors argued that she killed her children in order to avoid losing custody.

She and Eric were actually due in court to settle the joint custody arrangement on the day the children were killed.

"She is bent on control – over her children and over the divorce," prosecutor Jay Willford said during the trial, according to "She said, 'I want 100 percent of the kids and 100 percent of your salary.' It's Kelli's way or no way."

However, Kelli's lawyer argued that "her behavior throughout the house mirrored her mental state. She was confused; she felt alone," said Ara Ohanian. The defense also argued that Kelli blacked out before committing the murders as a result of ingesting vodka and sleeping pills.

The toxicology reports showed that the only substance in Kelli's system at the time was Benadryl, which shook the blackout defense.

"This is a homicidal blackout and we call it a magical blackout," Willford said.

It took the jury a little over an hour after closing arguments were made. The result was a conviction on two counts of murder. She was immediately sentenced to two consecutive (back-to-back) life sentences that will keep her in prison for the rest of her life without the possibility of parole.

"This is a sad day for us," Eric Murphy's family said in a statement after the verdict. "We would have preferred to be celebrating Liam's 11th birthday today. Instead, we would just like to offer our sincere thanks to everyone involved in this case."

"Although nothing can make up for the loss of Liam and Madigan or fill the void that is left by their absence, we are thankful that this chapter is now over and we look to God to help lighten our hearts," he added.