FORT WAYNE, Ind. (AP) — A prosecutor announced Thursday that he's seeking a sentence of life without parole for an Indiana woman accused of smothering her two children after abducting them, saying such a sanction was appropriate "given the gravity of this horrible crime."
Amber Pasztor is charged with two counts of murder in the deaths of her 7-year-old daughter, Liliana Hernandez, and 6-year-old son, Rene Pasztor. Indiana law calls for a sentence of 45 to 65 years in prison for a murder charge, but allows for a death sentence or life imprisonment without parole in some cases.
"We have alleged that this 'mother' murdered her two children, both of whom were under the age of twelve (12) years, one after the other, here in Elkhart County. In this circumstance, a sanction of life without parole for the murder of these two children is an appropriate consideration given the gravity of this horrible crime," Elkhart County Prosecutor Curtis Hill said in a news release.
He previously had said he was considering seeking the death penalty for Pasztor. Neither Hill nor Pasztor's attorney responded immediately to requests for comment on the decision to seek a life without parole sentence.
Authorities say Pasztor, 29, of Fort Wayne, abducted the children from their custodial grandparents' home on Sept. 26, prompting them to issue an Amber Alert. Hours later, Pasztor parked a car outside the Elkhart Police Department, about 70 miles northwest of Fort Wayne, and told an officer her children's bodies were the back seat, according to investigators.
Pasztor said in a jailhouse interview with WANE-TV that she decided to kill her children after hearing of the Amber Alert for them. She said she killed the children so they would be safe in heaven. Pasztor said her children were in good hands in her father's custody, but she didn't think they were safe.
"My kids are in a better place. . They don't have no worries no more," she told the TV station.
Pasztor also admitted that she shot her neighbor, 65-year-old Frank Macomber, and took his car. She has not been charged in Macomber's death, but Hill has said she is a suspect. Macomber's body was found Sept. 27 in a wooded area.