GOSHEN, Ind. – A judge has ordered an Indiana woman who admitted to fatally smothering her two children to undergo mental health treatment before going to prison under a 130-year sentence.
Thirty-year-old Amber Pasztor of Fort Wayne told an Elkhart County judge she was sorry before he ordered the sentence Thursday morning. She pleaded guilty but mentally ill to two counts of murder in the deaths of 7-year-old Lilliana Hernandez and 6-year-old Rene Pasztor.
Pasztor abducted her children Sept. 26 from their custodial grandparents' home near Fort Wayne, prompting an Amber Alert. Their bodies were found the same day inside a stolen car parked behind the Elkhart Police Department, about 70 miles (110 kilometers) northwest of Fort Wayne. Pasztor had flagged down an officer and showed him the bodies.
"I do believe you're sorry," Judge Michael Christofeno told Pasztor. "But that unfortunately does not undo this horrific act."
The judge ruled that Pasztor, who has been diagnosed as bipolar and schizophrenic, was competent to stand trial after she underwent three psychological evaluations to determine whether she was able to assist with her defense.
Pasztor is also charged in the September shooting death of a former neighbor, 66-year-old Frank Macomber. Her children's bodies were found inside his stolen car.
Christofeno cited her use of alcohol, marijuana and synthetic marijuana as factors in his sentencing decision.
Defense lawyer Peter Soldato told the judge that the killings would not have occurred if it weren't for Pasztor's drug use and mental illness.
"Essentially, she poisoned herself over the course of two years," Soldato said.
Soldato said a benefit of Pasztor's plea agreement is that she will receive mental health treatment.