A Canadian woman who pleaded guilty to drugging and burning her daughter to death was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 18 years.
Laura Coward, 50, received the sentence that Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Scott Brooker said should reflect “society’s disgust and outrage,” according to a report by CBC News.
Coward was initially charged with first-degree murder, but she pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in February for killing her daughter, 9-year-old Amber Lucius.
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Brooker said that Coward deserves credit for pleading guilty, but still noted that the crime was “vile and evil.”
“Amber was completely vulnerable to and trusting of her mother. It was the ultimate betrayal and breach of trust for Ms. Coward to kill her daughter.”
The murder took place on Labor Day weekend in 2014, just days after Coward and Amber’s father, Duane Lucius, divorced. Coward told friends and family that she was taking the girl to go stargazing, but instead, took her to a rural area where she drugged her with sleeping pills. Coward then locked the girl inside her truck and set it on fire.
The mother was found next to the truck with a handwritten note stuck to the front window which read, “Help me. It was an accident. Locked keys in.”
An autopsy report indicates that Amber died of a combination of hypothermia, smoke inhalation and carbon monoxide toxicity.
Coward begged for forgiveness at her sentencing.
“I want to say to the father, my family, friends that I’m responsible for my choices and I beg for their forgiveness and I plead for your mercy.”
Lucius, however, said that he could never forgive her for the pain she caused him by taking away his little girl, saying that “no sentence will do justice for what has happened to Amber.”
He said in a statement that he hopes no other parent will hurt their children as a means of getting back at their ex.
“As a father, I have had to bury my child and nothing will bring her back. I can only hope that other children are not being used as bargaining chips in a divorce or used to hurt the other parent.”
[Feature Photo: Family Handout]