Woman sentenced to prison for leaving ailing mother to die
LANCASTER (AP) — A south-central Pennsylvania woman will spend six to 12 years in prison for allegedly leaving her bedridden 88-year-old mother alone to die, though the defendant says it was a mercy killing.
The Lancaster Intelligencer Journal/New Era reported Janice Harmes, 67, was sentenced Thursday by a Lancaster County judge, after pleading no contest to a charge of third-degree murder.
Authorities say Harmes took Janet Bastendorf’s cellphone — her mother’s only link to the outside world — then left the woman alone without food or water for 10 days before she died on Jan. 6 of an infection.
Harmes told the judge that she and her mother “had an understanding” that the woman wanted to die at home, not in a hospital.
But the judge rejected that explanation calling it “inexcusable and reprehensible.”