Ohio Woman Pleads Guilty To Suffocating Her Three Young Sons
Brittany Pilkington's defense attorney reportedly suggested she has diminished responsibility due to brain damage she allegedly sustained as a child.
An Ohio judge sentenced a woman to 37 years to life behind bars for smothering her three sons to death. She reportedly said she was jealous of the attention they received from her husband, who was once her mother’s boyfriend.
Brittany Pilkington, 27, of Logan County, accepted a plea deal on Nov. 19, pleading guilty to one count of involuntary manslaughter and two counts of murder. Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost and Logan County Prosecutor Eric Stewart reportedly said the children's deaths occurred over a 13-month period.
"A guilty plea cannot undo the heartless acts this woman committed against defenseless children," Yost said in a statement obtained by Milwaukee's WITI-TV. "She does not deserve to be called 'Mom,' but locking her up will at least guarantee she won't be able to repeat this evil."
In July 2014, Pilkington’s 3-month-old son, Niall, died, followed by 4-year-old Gavin, in April 2015, and 3-month-old Noah in August that same year.
In Noah's case, Pilkington reportedly called 911 to help resuscitate the infant, but emergency responders were unable to save his life. She then admitted to investigators that she smothered her children with blankets, the New York Post reported.
In a statement, prosecutor Stewart said Pilkington dodged the death penalty after a state expert determined the punishment was inappropriate “due to the mental defects of the defendant.”
Her disabilities were outlined in court by her defense attorney, Kort Gatterdam. According to Dayton's WDTN-TV, the lawyer said medical tests confirmed Pilkington sustained brain damage after ingesting lead as an infant. Gatterman reportedly said it caused developmental delays, emotional issues, and anxiety.
Gatterdam also pointed to trauma stemming from physical and sexual abuse her husband, Joseph Pilkington, allegedly subjected her to. Gatterdam reportedly told the court Joseph Pilkington was romantically involved with Brittany Pilkington's mother before they got married.
Pilkington’s husband is the father of her three late sons and an 8-year-old daughter who now lives with extended family. He pled guilty in 2016 to misdemeanor sexual battery for impregnating Pilkington when she was 17, the New York Post reported.
“Imagine being developmentally delayed, but neither the parents, schools or social agencies helped you,” Gatterdam said, according to Dayton's WHIO-TV. “Then your mother brings this monster into your life, who started grooming you at age 9, and you suffered sexual abuse that would repeat itself hundreds of times in her life.”
Gatterdam added, “It doesn’t excuse her conduct, but by God, it does explain it.”