43-year-old Laurel Schlemmer is charged with killing 6-year-old Daniel and 3-year-old Luke in 2014, so she could focus on raising their older brother.
The court heard of several attempts on the lives of the two boys by their mother.
Allegheny County Assistant District Attorney Lisa Pellegrino told the judge during a bench trial that evidence of the past attempts on the kids’ lives will help establish that Schlemmer planned the death of her sons.
Family portrait: Laurel worked as a teacher until 2004, while her husband, Mark Schlemmer, is an actuary. The couple were married for nine years.
A year earlier, witnesses say, Schlemmer backed her van over Daniel and Luke in April of 2013 at her parents’ house. A nurse testified that the children had tire tracks on their abdomens, and they were treated for various broken bones. Investigators never figured out exactly how and why the boys were run over.
Ther was additional testimony from security workers who found then tw0-year-old Daniel in a parked vehicle in a mall four years earlier. A heat sensor found the temperature inside the vehicle was 112 degrees.
Confessed child killer, Laurel Schlemmer is escorted to the courtroom at the Allegheny County Courthouse in Pennsylvania on Wednesday
Ross Township Officer Michael Thomas also testified that the front windows were open six inches each and that he was able to reach inside to unlock a door after the child had been inside for 20 minutes. Schlemmer was ticketed for leaving Daniel alone in the car.
Prosecutors are claiming that Schlemmer at the age 40, finally finished the job in 2014. They are seeking a conviction of first-degree murder. Schlemmer would face life in prison if found guilty.
Schlemmer, now 43, was sworn in, suggesting her defense team plans to call her to the stand. The lawyers can’t speak about the trial because of a gag order.
In a pretrial discussion with the judge, her lawyer Michael Machen indicated he will try to prove Schlemmer was insane or operating under diminished mental capacity.
The prosecutor Pellegrini played a recording of a 911 call in which the defendant told a dispatcher she had let the boys play in the bathtub while she “went to the restroom and took longer than I should have or planned and, when I came back, they were unconscious.”
A police officer testified that the boys had been dried off and were lying next to each other when he arrived. Only their hair was damp, and it appeared to have been combed, the officer testified. Schlemmer had changed into dry clothes before calling 911, according to Pellegrini.