Sept. 29 (UPI) -- A Pennsylvania woman and her adult daughter were each sentenced to five-consecutive life sentences after pleading guilty to murdering five of their family members in 2019.
Shana Decree and Dominique Decree each pleaded guilty but mentally ill to first-degree murder Monday as part of a deal with prosecutors that spared them the death penalty.
"This is horrible and tragic, because I do believe the two of you have expressed remorse," Judge Wallace Bateman Jr. said in court. "Unfortunately, that doesn't bring them back. You can't say, 'sorry,' and expect people to move on with their lives."
Police arrested the two women in February 2019 after five people were found dead in their apartment. Among the dead were Shana Decree's 25-year-old daughter Naa'Irah Smith, her 13-year-old son Damon Decree Jr., her 9-year-old twin nieces, Imani Allen and Erika Allen, and the twins' mother and Shana Decree's sister, 42-year-old Jamilla Campbell.
A building manager discovered the five bodies in the room of a Morrisville, Pa., apartment after a Bucks County Children and Youth Social Services Agency representative attempted to perform a well-being check.
The Bucks County Coroner's Office said Campbell died of strangulation while the four others died of asphyxiation.
Shana Decree allegedly confessed and told police "everyone at the apartment ... wanted to die."
Court-appointed psychologists and psychiatrists determined both defendants had mental illnesses that included schizoid personality disorder, major depressive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Each of the defendants offered apologies in court.
"The hardest thing for me to do is decide who to say I'm sorry to first," Shana Decree said. "To my family, I am sorry for taking away these beautiful souls in such a horrible manner."
"I'm so sorry for everything that happened, and I truly don't understand why it happened," Dominique Decree said.