A Colorado mother has been convicted of murdering her two young children because she was distraught over her impending divorce.
Kelli Murphy, 42, of Castle Rock, was sentenced to two terms of life without parole as family members wept in the courthouse for six-year-old, Madigan, and nine-year-old, Liam, who she smothered to death in May 2011.
On what would have been Liam's 11th birthday, jurors were shown photographs of the children's bodies laying face down on their beds.
Dramatically, district Attorney Jay Williford described the amount of time and planning it would have required to kill each child, according to The Denver Post.
Pictures of the children's locked bedroom doors came on a projector as Mr Williford paused and watched the clock.
'Liam is now unconscious,' he said after about 30 seconds. 'Liam is now dead,' he added a minute-and-a-half later.
Friends and family sobbed for the children as Mr Williford explained how the mother had to tuck Liam in and make his bed before unlocking her daughter's door and repeating the process.
Throughout the trial, prosecutors claimed that Ms Murphy killed the children and then tried to commit suicide because she was distraught over her divorce from her husband, Robert Eric Murphy.
Prosecutor Chris Gallo described the mother as a controlling, angry, calculating woman who didn't want to share custody of the kids, according to The Denver Post.
He said Ms Murphy told her husband: 'I want 100 per cent custody of the kids and 100 per cent of your salary. I'm going to make your life hell.'
But Ms Murphy's defense attorney argued the deaths were accidental, occurring after she blacked out from drinking a full bottle of vodka and taking too many pills.
Her attorney, Ara Ohanion, said her plan was to kill herself but make it look like she just fell asleep so as not to frighten her children.
But when she woke up she found her children face down on their beds dead and couldn't remember what happened, so she cut her wrists in a bid to end her life.
'No mother who loved her children the way Kelli did would do this intentionally or knowingly,' Mr Ohanion told jurors today, adding that the woman's behaviour had become increasingly erratic in the lead up to the murders.
He said Ms Murphy felt abandoned and rejected by her family because of the divorce and was acting unstable and paranoid.
On May 23 2011, Ms Murphy called 911 saying she was about to commit suicide. At that point, the kids had been dead for 12 hours already.
The dispatcher allegedly asked her if there were any children at home and she allegedly replied: 'They are in heaven.'
When the police arrived at her home they found the two children dead in their bedrooms. Both of the children went to Rock Ridge Elementary School. According to Castle Rock Police Chief Tony Lane, the bodies had no visible signs of injury.
In court today, the jury listened to Ms Murphy tell the dispatcher on the call that she 'hurt her two young children.'
Mr Gallo said this proved beyond reasonable doubt that Ms Murphy was sober and conscious enough to know that she would need a lawyer to defend what she had done.
But Mr Ohanian claimed that requesting legal representation proved she didn't know what happened.
'She asked the EMT to kill her on the way to the hospital — she was not in her right mind,' he said.
Jurors found her guilty of two counts of first-degree murder after deliberation and two counts of first-degree murder of a victim under 12-years-old.