Logan County Prosescutor Eric Stewart said there were times he thought he’d never see the end of this case.
“It’s a dramatic conclusion I think to all the work that’s been done by law enforcement, Children’s Services, the Attorney General’s office,” he said. “But it’s also a relief to bring some closure to everybody and the community.”
The legal case has moved slowly through the judicial system. Pilkington was first charged with aggravated murder in 2015. She is accused of smothering infant Niall in July 2014, 4-year-old Gavin in April 2015 and infant Noah on Aug. 18, 2015.
She had pleaded not guilty to the charges up until Tuesday afternoon.
Pilkington’s attorneys and the Logan County Prosecutor’s Office have been in legal battles surrounding the evidence in the case. Numerous appeals and motions have been filed causing the jury trial to be rescheduled many times.
Prosecutors had been seeking the death penalty in the case until Tuesday’s hearing, but that possibility is now off the table.
But Pilkington’s defense team fought the potential death penalty sentence, filing a motion earlier this year that called for the judge to rule out the death penalty because they say Pilkington has intellectual disabilities. They said Pilkington has an IQ of 71 — and imposing the death penalty would have violated her eighth amendment protection against cruel and unusual punishment.
One member of Pilkington’s defense team — Kort Gatterdam, said he’s noticed a considerable, positive change in Pilkington just since she’s been in jail, and he’s hopeful that she’ll get the help she needs in prison.
“I think she’ll do well at (the Ohio Reformatory for Women) and hopefully one day the parole board will look favorably on her release,” he said.
Before the sentence was handed down — Gatterdam argued to the judge that specialists say Pilkington was a victim of physical and sexual abuse dating back to her childhood and she also suffered from lead poisoning.
“It doesn’t excuse her conduct, but by God, it does explain it,” Gatterdam said in court.
RELATED: Doctors: Bellefontaine mom Brittany Pilkington has brain damage
Stewart addressed the court as well — saying he wanted to represent the children killed in the case.
“I can’t even imagine what they’d want me to say,” he told the court.
Pilkington’s daughter is currently in custody of Judy and Dave Grimes. Dave said the whole ordeal has deeply affected her.
At times, her daughter brings up things her brothers might have liked if they were still alive with her.
“Imagine the last thing you saw in this world is your mother smothering you to death,” Grimes said in court.
Tina McFall, another defense attorney, read a statement from Pilkington that says she hopes her daughter can forgive her in time.
Pilkington will be eligible for parole in 2056.
37 — minimum number of years Pilkington will spend in prison
3 — sons she smothered to death
1550 — approximate number of days Pilkington has already spent in jail
The News-Sun has walked readers through every stage of Brittany Pilkington’s case — the crime, Pilkington’s extensive mental health background, the legality of the death penalty and most recently — the conclusion.