CLEVELAND, Tennessee — A Bradley County judge has sentenced a woman to two life terms in the deaths of her two young sons.
Tasha Bates was convicted in August of murder and child neglect in the deaths of 3-year-old River and 5-year-old Leland, who were left in a car last June when the temperature hit 101 degrees.
The Chattanooga Times Free Press (http://bit.ly/1aW3IQn) reports that Bates' attorney, Richard Hughes, asked that the sentences be allowed to run concurrently, meaning she would serve just one life sentence.
"Justice can be accomplished with one life sentence," Hughes said. "That in no way diminishes the life of these children."
The prosecution didn't object, but the judge refused.
"These are two people that were murdered. Two people. Two murders," Bradley County Criminal Court Judge Amy Reedy said, adding that the boys were "introduced into a horrible place and around horrible goings-on, and around horrible activity."
During the trial, prosecutors introduced evidence of meth making at the family's home.
The judge ruled that Bates will have to serve the sentences consecutively, or one after the other.
In Tennessee, life sentences call for at least 51 years behind bars.
Hughes said the judge's ruling means Bates will likely remain in prison for the rest of her life.
"She is effectively facing life without parole," Hughes said.
Information from: Chattanooga Times Free Press, http://www.timesfreepress.com