Woman gets prison in abandoned mother's death

Written by The Associated Press | Oct 14, 2013 2:22 PM
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(Lancaster) -- A south-central Pennsylvania woman will spend six to 12 years in prison for allegedly leaving her bedridden 88-year-old mother alone to die -- though the defendant says it was a mercy killing.

Sixty-seven year-old Janice Harmes was sentenced by a Lancaster County judge, Thursday, after pleading no contest to a charge of third-degree murder.

Authorities say Harmes took Janet Bastendorf's cellphone -- her mother's only link to the outside world -- then left the woman alone without food or water for 10 days before she died of an infection on January 6th.

Harmes tells the judge that she and her mother ``had an understanding'' that the woman wanted to die at home, not in a hospital.

But the judge rejected that explanation calling it ``inexcusable and reprehensible.''

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