The AP reported that Julie Schenecker, 53, was sentenced to two life terms for fatally shooting her son, 13-year-old Beau, and her 16-year old daughter Calyx. At the time, their father, Parker, a former Army Colonel was on duty in the Middle East.
Schenecker served in the Army herself as a linguist.
"I know I shot my son and daughter. I don't know why. But I have time to try to understand that,” she said before the judge passed sentence.
Six health experts testified during the trial that Schenecker was mentally ill and her attorney, Jennifer Spradley, claimed that she suffered from bipolar disorder and depression, which, under Florida law, is one of the requirements for a not guilty by reason of insanity plea.
However, the prosecution countered that Schenecker was sane when her children were murdered.
"These were deliberate, well-planned, well-implemented and well-concealed homicides," said prosecutor Jay Pruner, adding that Schenecker had written about committing such a massacre in her journal and thought a divorce from her husband was pending. She also reportedly wrote of her intention to commit suicide and to be cremated with her children.
Her husband, sister and mother-in-law all reportedly cried as the verdict was handed down.
"She was sane when it happened," said juror James Holmes, according to the Tampa Bay Times. "She's like a train in a tunnel – in a tunnel it's dark and when you come out of it, there's brightness. She was in and out of it at the time."
Schenecker tearfully apologized after the verdict was announced.
"I apologize. I apologize to everyone in this courtroom ... the lives I have destroyed. I hope they can collect themselves as best as possible, all of us and not just this courtroom.”