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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Sentencing Hearing for Mother Who Drowned Son

Aired September 3, 2003 - 03:05   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: We want to take you live right now to Troy, New York. The judge is sentencing Christine Wilhelm for the drowning of her son last year. Let's listen in to the judge.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

JUDGE PATRICK MCGRATH, RENSSELAER COUNTY COURT: And there are no excuses that should lessen the punishment that Christine Wilhelm should receive.

Mercy, I have no room for mercy in this case. I agree with the prosecutor, she should be shown the same mercy she showed to Luke and Peter. And I can't imagine the terror that Luke experienced, a 4- year-old child in the hands of the person that's supposed to protect them and love them.

And therefore, on behalf of society, Kenneth, Peter, Luke, the only just and proper sentence in my opinion would be the maximum sentence.

Therefore, on Count 1, the charge of murder in the second degree, I would sentence the defendant to the maximum sentence of 25 years to life.

On Court 4, I would sentence her to the maximum sentence of 25 years to term in state prison, consecutive to the 25 years to life, for a total of 50 to life.

Issue a final order of protection directing the defendant to stay away from and not to come into contact, either directly or indirectly, to Peter and Kenneth for a period of up to 2056.

I do have to impose a mandatory court cost of 200 plus 10, and direct that that be paid at the state facility.

I will sign the orders of protection and would request that the defendant also execute the orders of protection.

KAGAN: We're looking at an emotional -- a very emotional picture of Kenneth Wilhelm. And then, the camera is panning over to Christine Wilhelm.

The judge in this case, Patrick McGrath, in Troy, New York, has just imposed the maximum penalty on Christine Wilhelm for drowning her own 4-year-old son in the family bathtub last year. Her public defender had asked for mercy, had talked about Christine Wilhelm's mental condition. Judge McGrath saying that he had no room for mercy for this woman, saying that her mental condition does not lessen the horror that the 4-year-old boy went through in his drowning death.

Also, Christine McGrath (sic) also tried to drown her then 5- year-old son. He survived that attack.

A tragic situation for that family. Christine Wilhelm will spend the rest of her life in jail.

Also, the judge denied her one request, and that was to have visitation from her now 6-year-old son. The judge has barred her from having any contact with her son or soon-to-be former husband until at least for about 50 years.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com.




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