BATAVIA, Ohio – A woman was sentenced Thursday to life in prison with parole for killing her 3-year-old developmentally disabled foster son by binding him in blankets and tape and leaving him inside a closet for a weekend.
A day earlier, jurors convicted Liz Carroll, 30, of murder and other charges. Under the life sentence for murder, she has no possibility for parole for 15 years. Some of the other sentences must be served consecutively.
Prosecutor Don White said Carroll is expected to spend at least 54 years in prison.
Jurors decided she caused foster son Marcus Fiesel's death, though unintentionally, by leaving him alone, bound in a blanket and packing tape, while she went to a family reunion in Kentucky.
Carroll, who did not testify during trial, said Thursday she was not responsible.
"I didn't do this to Marcus," she said. "I did not and would not ever hurt a child."
Judge Robert Ringland told Carroll that no matter how much she blamed other people, she had to accept responsibility. He also said she hadn't seemed sorry for the boy's death.
"There has never been a sincere concern for Marcus Fiesel," Ringland told her. "Even to this day, the only remorse is that you are being found guilty and not the death of this child."
Carroll's husband, David Carroll Jr., 29, is to be tried separately in March on the same charges as his wife, along with gross abuse of a corpse. Prosecutors allege that after the boy's death, he burned the body and dumped the remains in the Ohio River.
The Carrolls told authorities the boy wandered off or had been snatched from a park in suburban Cincinnati, sparking a search by thousands of volunteers that lasted several days. When authorities began to suspect the story was a ruse, the Carrolls' live-in companion, Amy Baker, told them how the boy died, prosecutors said.
The case led to calls for reform of Ohio's foster care system. An investigation by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services said the Carrolls were unqualified to care for Fiesel and cited failure to check references and inadequate home study and follow-up visits.
The state report recommended increased training, thorough background checks, drug testing and more data-sharing among agencies, courts and law enforcement as solutions. Legislators expect to work on reform measures this year.