In opening statements on Wednesday, an Allegheny County prosecutor said that a Pennsylvania woman on trial for drowning her two little boys in a bathtub, tried to run one over previously, while leaving the other in a hot car.
CBS reports that Laurel Schlemmer is accused of killing her sons, Daniel, 6, and Luke, 3, in 2014, by drowning them both in the family home’s bathtub. She’s charged with two counts of first-degree murder.
According to Allegheny County Assistant District Attorney Lisa Pellegrino, Schlemmer reportedly walked Daniel to his bus stop in April 2014, and while walking back to her house, began devising in her mind the best way to kill both children. She was reportedly “fixated that Daniel and Luke were not normal children.” By most anyone’s standards, however, the children were completely normal little boys living with a mother who thought they both would be better off “in Heaven.”
Prosecutors stated that Schlemmer eventually settled on drowning her sons in a bathtub. After they both died, she called 911 and said she went to use the restroom, and when she returned, the boys were unconscious.
“ [I] went to the restroom and took longer than I should have or planned and, when I came back, they were unconscious.”
After being questioned by Allegheny County detectives, Schlemmer admitted that “voices in her head” told her to drown her children.
“Schlemmer said after the boys got into the tub she got into the tub ‘fully clothed’ and ‘crazy voices’ were telling her to push the boys down into the water,” the complaint read. “Schlemmer explained that at one point she (was) sitting on top of boys while they were under the water in the tub.”
Pellegrino said Schlemmer sat on each boy while they were face-down in the bathtub. Once they were unconscious, she took both boys out of the bathtub, placed them on a towel, and didn’t bother to administer CPR. She later defended herself by saying she didn’t know CPR. Police rushed both boys to the hospital, but they died four days later.
In previous attempts to kill the boys, Schlemmer left her oldest son, Daniel, inside a car in 2009. The boy was in the car for around 20 minutes, but he noticed a slightly open window and escaped. Ross Township Officer Michael Thomas used a heat sensor and determined that the temperature was 112 degrees inside the vehicle when the boy escaped. Schlemmer was given a ticket for leaving a child alone in a vehicle.
In 2013, witnesses stated that they watched Schlemmer back her van over the boys in her parent’s driveway. They were later treated for broken bones. They had tire tracks on their abdomen, but a child welfare check ruled it as an accident.
Friends and neighbors were shocked by the allegations, stating that the Schlemmers were “wonderful people” and “religious.”
If convicted, Schlemmer faces life in prison.
[Feature Photo: Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office]