Parker County, Texas sheriff's office/AP
A Texas mom whose two toddlers died after she left them in a hot car
to teach the older one a “lesson” was sentenced to 20 years in prison on
Monday, prosecutors confirm to PEOPLE.
On Monday, prior to her sentencing, Cynthia Randolph,
25, was convicted of two counts of reckless injury to a child causing
serious bodily injury or death.
On May 26, 2017, authorities arrested Randolph after
discovering her children — Juliet Ramirez, 2, and her 1-year-old brother
Cavanaugh — unresponsive. The temperature reached 96 degrees that day
and the children died from heatstroke, officials said.
Last year, police said Randolph had initially claimed
the children “took off” and locked themselves inside a small vehicle,
forcing her to break a window in an attempt to save them, according to earlier reports.
But police said Randolph changed her story about what
happened several times before admitting she found the children playing
in the car and left them inside after her daughter refused to leave the
Randolph “cried throughout” her week-long trial,
which began on April 23, Parker County Assistant District Attorney Jeff
Swain said. Jurors heard 13 hours of video-recorded interviews
in which Randolph told different stories about how her children died.
“Ultimately, she said that she watched her children
get into the car, told them to get out, they refused, and she slammed
the door to the car to teach the older child a lesson,” stated Swain in a
Randolph told officials she went inside her home, smoked marijuana and watched Keeping Up with the Kardashians before falling asleep for two to four hours, according to the press release.
“She said she thought that her 2-year-old knew how to
get out of the car,” the press release states, “and that she left the
doors to the house standing open.”
After jurors deliberated for less than an hour,
Randolph was found guilty. She was sentenced to 20 years for each crime,
but will serve concurrently.
“The deaths of these children and the culpability of
their mother in causing that dictated that she be sentenced to prison,”
said assistant district attorney Abby Placke in the press release.
“Their lives were taken from them before they even had a chance to