A judge sentenced a woman to life in a hospital facility for killing her two young children by slashing their throats while they were sleeping.
NBC Montana reports 36-year-old Leannah Gardipe received two life sentences that she will serve in the Department of Public Health and Human Services for killing her 3-year-old daughter and 5-year-old son in 2021.
According to KPAX-TV, Gardipe pleaded guilty to two counts of deliberate homicide in August.
Gardipe’s husband, Travis Sandberg, made a victim impact statement following the sentencing and said, “Every second of the day, all I can picture is Leannah brutally murdering my kids. I pleaded over and over that my children were in danger.”
According to The Missoulian, Sandberg, and Gardipe previously worked out a parenting plan in court with the same judge who sentenced Gardipe. He gave Gardipe primary custody of the children.
Missoula County District Judge Robert Deschamps reportedly told Sandberg, “You agreed to this final parenting plan.”
Sandberg said he didn’t think he had a choice in the matter.
He added, “I begged and pleaded in this exact courtroom. I pleaded over and over again, if you give her these children, she will hurt them.”
Gardipe reportedly spoke at her sentencing. According to NBC Montana, she said she “did not hurt my kids for any other reason other than I did not want them to get hurt by anyone else.”
Gardipe said, “I felt like I had to protect them forever because I felt like we were not safe. I was supposed to die with them. I loved them more every day. My life revolved around them. I wouldn’t have had it any other way. I always knew how to ask for help besides this time.”
According to Gardipe’s probable cause affidavit, Gardipe’s mother called the Missoula County Sheriff’s Office and said Gardipe killed her children, though she claimed she “saved her babies.”
Gardipe called the sheriff’s office minutes later because she needed to “report a murder” that occurred with a steak knife.
She told the dispatcher she also needed paramedics because she “was hearing noises still from one of her children.”
Gardipe said she was “supposed to die today.”
When deputies arrived at the home, they found the two victims tucked into bed with “significant lacerations on their throats” as well as defensive wounds. Investigators located a blood-covered steak knife under the bed and blood in the girl’s room.