Story here. Excerpt:
‘Saying she wanted to avoid putting her children through another ordeal, a Colorado Springs woman accepted a plea deal Friday and admitted she poured gasoline on her five children and lit them on fire, killing one.
Maria Darlene Gardner, who also uses the last name Joseph, pleaded guilty to child abuse causing death and four counts of child abuse causing serious bodily injury. The deal was mediated Friday before Senior 4th Judicial District Judge Richard Toth.
In exchange for her pleas, prosecutors Jeff Lindsey and Debbie Pearson dropped charges of first-degree murder and 11 other charges.
Gardner, 26, will be sentenced to between 75 and 85 years in prison Feb. 20.
“I thought we could win with the insanity defense,” McHenry said. “An expert psychologist examined her within four days of the fire and decided she was completely psychotic at the time. She chose to do this so her kids would not have to be put through the trauma of testifying in open court.”‘