MINOT, N.D. (AP) — A judge sentenced a northwest North Dakota woman to 25 years in prison Friday for her teenage son's starvation death after defense attorneys and prosecutors reached a plea agreement.
Jessica Jensen, 36, of Kenmare, pleaded guilty to two charges: murder and child neglect or abuse. She had reached a plea deal in July that called for her to spend 16 years in prison for the January 2014 death of 13-year-old Aidan Bossingham, but a judge rejected the agreement.
District Judge Gary Lee said then that he could not agree to the terms given the evidence in the case "and the severity of the charges." Lee sentenced Jensen to the longer prison term on Friday.
Authorities have said that Jensen's son weighed just 21 pounds when he died. Jensen had pleaded not guilty last year to murder, child neglect and failure to report the death of a child.
In court Friday, Jensen acknowledged not getting proper medical treatment that would have saved her son's life and she cried as she apologized for her inaction, KXMC-TV reported.
Lee said he was relieved that no jury would have to view the photos he saw of the boy's body after his death.
Jensen was charged in March 2014 after the state medical examiner ruled her son died from chronic starvation due to untreated juvenile appetite disorder. Jensen told investigators that her son had a hormonal growth problem and that his pituitary gland did not function properly.
She also said her son would eat and then vomit, and that he had not seen a doctor for several years.
Defense attorney Tyler Morrow had asked if Jensen's scheduled trial could be moved to eastern North Dakota because of extensive news coverage of the case in the Minot area. Lee refused the request last week.