A Maryland mother who suffocated her two young children with plastic bags was sentenced to 45 years prison Wednesday, time that will be served in a state-run mental health facility.
Sonya Spoon, 26, of Cheverly pleaded guilty in March to two counts of second-degree murder in the deaths of her children, Kayla Thompson, 3, and Ayden Thompson, 1.
Spoon wrapped her children’s heads with plastic bags and duct tape until they became unconscious in September 2014, police and prosecutors said. In 911 calls released by county officials, Spoon is heard performing CPR, trying to revive her children as Spoon’s mother asked dispatchers for help.
“Come on, baby,” Spoon is heard pleading during the call. “Come on, please.”
The children were taken to a hospital, where they later died.
“I had a pang of nausea when I heard what happened,” Prince George’s Count Circuit Court Judge Lawrence V. Hill said before sentencing Spoon.
Spoon had a doctor testify on her behalf, saying she suffered traumatic brain injury, severe depression and the prospect of losing custody of her daughter to an abusive man.
But Hill said “that’s not a defense or excuse for what happened that day.”
Spoon killed her children one week after she was taken to a local hospital for an emergency psychiatric evaluation. Police escorted her for treatment Sept. 1, 2014, after she had threatened to kill herself and hurt her daughter. Spoon was later allowed to leave the hospital on her own, without child welfare officials knowing of the threats Spoon had made against her children.
Maryland law does not require law enforcement or medical professionals to report threats against children, only suspected neglect or abuse.
Spoon stood up in court and apologized to her family and the family of her children.
“It wasn’t my initial intent and I didn’t do it maliciously,” Spoon said of killing her children. “I deeply regret my actions.”
Prince George’s County officials have tried to change state law for the past three years to require social workers, medical professionals and police to report verbal threats of “imminent severe bodily harm or death to a child,” but the legislation has never received enough backing from politicians to make a change.
During the 2017 legislative session in Annapolis, the child protection bill passed through the House but received an unfavorable report from the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee.
Prince George’s County States Attorney Angela Alsobrooks has been lobbying to close the “gaping loophole.” Alsobrooks said the “defenseless children” had a mother with mental health issues and one father who was convicted of child abuse.
“The saddest aspect of this case is that these two babies … they never had a chance,” Alsobrooks said.