Erika Murray in court for sentencing Thursday. (Karyn Regal/WBZ NewsRadio)
WORCESTER, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — The mother in the so-called Blackstone 'house of horrors' case was sentenced to 6-8 years in prison Thursday.
Erika Murray was found to have severely neglected her two youngest living children, and left the remains of three infants in closets in her Blackstone home while caring for her oldest children.
Murray was initially accused of killing two of those three infants, and was charged with two counts of second-degree murder in their deaths; one of those charges was dismissed during the trial, and she was found not guilty of the other.
Last month, Murray was convicted on two counts of assault and battery on a child pertaining to her two younger children, as well as two counts of endangerment of animals.
"There is nothing about this case that is normal," Judge Janet Kenton-Walker said, summing up a trial that included graphic descriptions of filth and squalor in the home, allegations of mental illness and partner violence, and bizarre attempts by Murray to keep the older children from realizing the younger ones were their siblings.
Prosecutor Christopher Hodgens said he is haunted by the case.
"The defendant was derelict in her duties as a parent, but I think even dereliction doesn't really approach describing the conduct," Hodgens said.
Hodgens asked that Murray be sentenced to ten years, but Judge Janet Kenton-Walker gave her six to eight years, with five years probation.
Murray gets five years' credit for time served, so she could be out in a year.
"I cannot punish her, as much as some people would like me to, for three dead babies found in the closet," Kenton-Walker said. "She wasn’t convicted of that."
Judge Kenton-Walker said she took into consideration Murray’s mental state, as well as her alleged abuse by her boyfriend, Ray Rivera, in making her decision.
"She's disappointed," defense attorney Keith Halpern told WBZ NewsRadio's Karyn Regal about his client. "She was hoping that she would not have to serve any additional time."
Halpern said Murray has plans after prison, and has participated in several different vocational programs while in custody awaiting her trial.
"I think she hopes to lead as normal and as anonymous a life as she possibly can, and work and be left alone," he said.
Asked if Murray was sorry, Halpern did not answer.
WBZ NewsRadio's Karyn Regal (@Karynregal) reports