Indiana mother confesses to children's deaths in letter

AP News
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Posted: Dec 29, 2016 3:42 PM

GOSHEN, Ind. (AP) — An Indiana woman accused of fatally smothering her two young children told a judge in a handwritten letter that she's guilty and ready to accept life in prison.

Amber Pasztor, 29, of Fort Wayne, faces two counts of murder in the Sept. 26 killings of 7-year-old Liliana Hernandez and 6-year-old Rene Pasztor. The children were killed after being abducted from their custodial grandparents' home.

Her attorneys are seeking to present a defense of mental disease or defect, saying they believe she cannot fully understand the legal proceedings or help prepare her defense. But in the letter, Pasztor said she was competent and would refuse to see another doctor for mental health evaluations.

"I made a lot of bad decisions in my life but this one really did it," she wrote. "I am guilty and I accept my consequences thank you so much for your time."

Pasztor has also admitted to fatally shooting her neighbor, 65-year-old Frank Macomber, and taking his car. She has not been charged in the death, but prosecutors have said she is a suspect. Investigators believe Macomber was shot the same day the children were killed. His body was found the next day in a wooded area near Fort Wayne.

Pasztor's letter to Elkhart Circuit Court Judge Terry Shewmaker was dated Dec. 14 but filed with the court on Tuesday, The Goshen News and The (Fort Wayne) Journal Gazette reported.

Shewmaker gave prosecutors a copy of Pasztor's letter during a Thursday court hearing, which Pasztor didn't attend. The judge made no ruling on the letter, but pushed Pasztor's trial date from late January until March 20 so a second competency evaluation could be completed.

Pasztor's defense attorney, Clifford Williams, told The Goshen News that he wouldn't discuss the letter. The Associated Press left a telephone message for Williams on Thursday seeking comment.

According to investigators, Pasztor parked a car outside the Elkhart Police Department hours after the children were abducted and told an officer her children's bodies were the back seat. Elkhart is about 70 miles northwest of Fort Wayne.

Pasztor said in an October jailhouse interview with WANE-TV that she decided to kill her children after hearing an Amber Alert for them. She said she killed the children so they would be safe in heaven.

Prosecutors are seeking a life sentence without parole for Pasztor.