Stepmother is Sentenced to Death After Cooking Anti-Freeze into Children's Food, Choking Them
A woman who cooked anti-freeze into food she gave her common-law husband's two young children has been sentenced to death.
An Alabama jury found Heather Leavell-Keaton, 26, guilty of the 2010 murder of three-year-old Chase DeBlase. They ruled that she also recklessly caused the death of his four-year-old sister, Natalie, just months earlier.
On Thursday, Mobile County Circuit Court judge Roderick Stout sentenced Leavell-Keaton to death by lethal injection making her the first woman in the history of the county to be sent to death row.
She was emotionless throughout the hearing, AL.com reported.
Prosecutors said that, in March 2010, four-year-old Natalie was duct-taped and put in a suitcase that was then left in a closet for 12 hours. She choked to death and her body was dumped in a wooded area in Citronelle, Alabama.
Three months later, when Chase started asking where his sister was, the boy was taped to a broom handle and left in a corner of the couple's bedroom overnight, according to prosecutors. He also choked to death and his body was found in a wooded area in Vancleave, Mississippi.
Leavell-Keaton had also cooked anti-freeze into the children's food, prosecutors said.
The children's biological mother sobbed as the details of their deaths were read out in court, AL.com reported.
Prosecutors had claimed that Leavell-Keaton was jealous of the children's mother.
Leavell-Keaton's attorney told the court that she has turned to religion and will no longer be a threat, but the judge still opted for the death penalty.
John DeBlase, the children's father, was sentenced to death in late 2014.
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