A jury convicted a Maryland woman of murder in the deaths of two adopted daughters whose bodies where found stored in a freezer in the woman's home.
Montgomery County jurors on Monday found 44-year-old Renee Bowman guilty of two counts of first-degree murder and three counts of first-degree child abuse in the deaths of her two older daughters, Jasmine and Minnet. The girls are believed to have died in Montgomery County in 2006.
In closing arguments Monday, defense attorney Alan Drew conceded Bowman had abused her children, but he said prosecutors failed to prove she killed them with premeditation. If there's no premeditation, the jury can find her guilty of second-degree murder instead of first-degree murder.
But Deputy State's Attorney John Maloney said the evidence shows the children were smothered to death and that Bowman acted deliberately.
Afterward, jurors said the main issue was whether to convict her of first- or second-degree murder in connection with one of the deaths.
Sentencing was scheduled for March 22. Prosecutors said they would ask for life in prison without the possibility of parole. Bowman's attorneys did not immediately return a call from the Associated Press seeking comment.
The bodies were found in September 2008 in a freezer in Bowman's Lusby home in Calvert County, after a third adopted daughter escaped from the home. Bowman pleaded guilty in September to abusing that girl and is currently serving a 25-year prison sentence.
Last week, that girl testified Bowman repeatedly beat and choked her and her sisters, referring to Bowman as her "ex-mother." The girl said Bowman repeatedly beat her and her sisters with a baseball bat and a shoe. The girl said she and her sisters were kept in a locked room of their Rockville home.
"There was a bucket where we went to the bathroom because we weren't allowed out of the room," she said.
When she was 7, the girl was found half-naked and covered in blood after escaping from the Bowman home.
Jasmine and Minnet were killed in Rockville more than three years ago, authorities said, but they don't know exactly when. Minnet would have been 12 now, and Jasmine would have turned 11 on Tuesday.
Bowman moved from Rockville to Charles County and later to Lusby in Calvert County. Prosecutors said she brought a large freezer containing the bodies of Jasmine and Minnet with her each time she moved.
Bowman continued to receive subsidies for all three children from the District of Columbia, where the girls were adopted. The subsidies are given to parents who adopt special-needs children from foster care.
The jury reached its verdict in just a couple of hours of deliberation Monday.