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Woman sentenced in tub drowning of autistic son, 4

SAN DIEGO A San Diego mother has been sentenced to 15 years-to-life in prison for drowning her four-year-old autistic son in a bathtub.

CBS San Diego affiliate KFMB-TV says 37-year-old Patricia Corby received the sentence Monday, about a month after giving a tearful guilty plea to second-degree murder.

On March 31, Corby drove to a police station and told authorities she had killed her son, Daniel, by filling a bathtub and holding the boy under water until he died. His still-wet body was wrapped in a blanket in her back seat.

She later told an investigator that her entire life was dedicated to caring for her son.

Several distraught relatives addressed Corby before the sentencing, including the boy's father, Duane Corby, who called her "a loathsome person."

He told his wife, "I hate you with all my heart and soul. You are a selfish person. To you, I say adios."

After several angry family comments, she moaned, "Stop, stop."

Members of the victim's family -- who did not want to be identified by name -- said Daniel Corby was not severely autistic and was doing well in school.

"You had no right to take our little boy's life," Daniel's aunt told the sobbing defendant.

The aunt said Daniel was probably looking down from heaven asking, "Mama, why did you kill me, when I was doing so well?"

According to testimony at a preliminary hearing last September, Corby contemplated suicide before holding her son down in several inches of water until he was lifeless in the family's Carmel Valley condominium.

Prosecutor Dino Paraskevopoulos told Judge Charles Gill today that Corby hit Daniel in the head before drowning him.

On two occasions before she killed her son, Corby asked the child's godfather if he would take care of the child if she wasn't around, the prosecutor said.

Corby's attorney, Mel Epley, disputed the prosecutor's contention that Corby struck her child before drowning him.

Epley said Corby loved her son very much, but she became severely depressed and wanted to kill herself.

The attorney said his client deeply regretted her actions.

"She didn't want a better life for herself, she wanted to die," Epley told the judge.

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