WEATHERFORD, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) - The Parker County mother who left her two kids in a hot car last May, has been given two 20-year sentences.
A jury found Cynthia Randolph, 25, guilty of Injury to a Child Causing Serious Bodily Injury or Death (reckless) Monday morning.
On Monday afternoon, they sentenced her to 20 years in prison on both cases, which will run concurrently.
Randolph told police she asked 2-year-old Juliet and 1-year-old Cavanaugh to get out of the car, but when they refused, she shut the car door to "teach them a lesson." This was around noon on May 26, 2017.
Randolph says she went inside her home, smoked marijuana, and went to sleep for two to three hours. Randolph told investigators when she realized the children died she broke a car window to make it look like an accident.
Randolph had initially reported both children "took off," that she had searched the area then later found the toddlers locked inside a small four-door vehicle on the property.
During the trial, jurors heard 13 hours of video recorded interviews of Randolph conducted with a Texas Ranger, according to the Parker County District Attorney's Office. The videos showed the several different versions given by Randolph as to what happened.
Dr. Marc Krouse with the Parker and Tarrant County Medical Examiner's Office testified that the children died of exogenous hyperthermia, more commonly known as heat stroke.
"Under our law, a person acts recklessly when they consciously disregard a substantial and unjustifiable risk that the result will occur," said Assistant District Attorney Kathleen Catania, who prosecuted the case along with Assistant District Attorney Abby Placke. "We thought that the evidence supported a finding that she acted knowingly, which means that she knew that her actions were reasonably certain to cause the result, which, in this case, was her childrens' deaths. This distinction was a pretty challenging one for jurors to make. We appreciate the jury's dedication throughout this long and emotional trial."
After jurors found Randolph guilty, they were called upon to determine her punishment, which could have been anything from probation to 20 years in prison. They gave her the maximum for each child's death.
"The deaths of these children and the culpability of their mother in causing that dictated that she be sentenced to prison," Placke said. "Their lives were taken from them before they even had a chance to start."
"Pursuant to Texas law, the sentences will run concurrently," said Assistant District Attorney Jeff Swain. "Ms. Randolph will be eligible for parole when her actual time served plus her good time credit equals a quarter of her sentence. We hope that the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles keeps her in prison as long as they can because her actions caused the deaths of two innocent little children."
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