Elyse Colon of San Antonio entered a guilty plea Tuesday, the San Antonio Express-News reported. Her trial was scheduled to start next week and she could have received a death sentence if convicted.
District Attorney Susan Reed cited Colon's low intelligence, lack of previous criminal record and her mental condition at the time she killed her sons as reasons for taking the death penalty off the table.
Colon called police in February 2010 and said she had stabbed the boys. She said she tried to take her own life by drinking household cleaners but threw up instead.
The boys, Jose Luis Garcia, 3, and Guillermo Garcia, 1, were covered by a blanket and stabbed multiple times.
Colon told an investigator she had been smoking crack with friends and was afraid of losing her sons if she tested positive for drugs. She then decided to kill them and herself.
"Elyse said that she was thinking that they would all be together," an officer said in a report. "Elyse said it didn't turn out that way."
Celeste Ramirez, Colon's lawyer, said her client had been under enormous stress because of unemployment and an abusive relationship. She was facing eviction and the boys' father had been deported to Mexico.