Mother who killed her twins sentenced to life in prison

Posted: January 08, 2014

TACONY Stacey Newkirk, the Tacony woman charged with murdering her 1-year-old twins last year, was convicted of two counts of third-degree murder Monday afternoon and sentenced to life in prison.

Prosecutors said the 42-year-old Newkirk poisoned her children in a rage after learning that her husband, Ron Smalls, was having an affair with her daughter from a previous marriage.

Newkirk was arrested last May after Smalls found the couple's twins, Adam and Eve, dead at their Ditman Street home.

At Monday's bench trial, with Judge Jeffrey Minehart presiding, Assistant District Attorney Peter Lim said Newkirk left notes detailing the crime near the children's bodies and admitted to police that she poisoned the children with sleeping pills. She told police that she drowned one of the twins and smothered the other.

One of the notes, Lim said, was addressed to her husband.

"I hope this makes you feel 1/1,000th of the pain I feel," it read.

Newkirk's attorneys, public defenders Fred Goodman and David Stevenson, did not contest the evidence but asked that Minehart convict their client of third-degree murder instead of first-degree murder.

Newkirk was found not guilty of a third charge: the attempted murder of her 4-year-old daughter, Stacey.

The prosecution had contended that Newkirk tried to poison the girl, but her attorneys said a toxicology screening showed no evidence of poison in the girl's system.

Newkirk was sentenced to life in prison for one count of third-degree murder and 20 to 40 years in prison for the second third-degree murder count. Both sentences will run concurrently.

If Newkirk had not waived her right to a jury trial, Lim said, she would have faced the death penalty.

Newkirk did not speak during the brief trial, although she waved to family members seated in the courtroom before proceedings began and cried quietly after her sentence was imposed.

Her attorneys declined to comment after the trial, but told Minehart she was "extraordinarily remorseful" over the crime.

215-854-2961 @aubreyjwhelan

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