Mother convicted of drowning son in Green Tree hotel bathtub to spend life in prison
A mother convicted of drowning her 2-year-old son in a Green Tree hotel will spend the rest of her life in prison, an Allegheny County judge ruled on Monday.
Sharon Flanagan, 34, of Inwood, W.Va., stared downward for most of the sentencing hearing while her ex-husband told Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey A. Manning that Flanagan deserves life in prison for killing their son.
“I cannot fully express my joy that this horrible person who killed my son will never hurt another child,” Steven W. Flanagan told Manning while clutching a Halloween photo of his son dressed in a puppy outfit. “I beg you to show no sympathy on this horrible person whatsoever. Please understand that there is no punishment great enough that she can receive for what she has done.”
Manning sentenced Sharon Flanagan to life in prison without the possibility of parole for her Sept. 20 first-degree murder conviction. The jury agreed with prosecutors who said she purposefully drowned her son, Steven T. Flanagan, in the Best Western Parkway Center Inn in Green Tree. The toddler died on July 6, 2012, in Children's Hospital, five days after his mother told police she found him lying facedown, unresponsive in a bathtub.
Sharon Flanagan shook her head no when the judge asked whether she had anything to say.
Her attorney, Blaine Jones, argued at trial that the drowning was an accident.
“It was an emotionally draining case and sentencing. There aren't any winners in this case,” Jones said. “It was an accident. She didn't intentionally try to drown her son.”
Flanagan initially told investigators she attempted to save the boy from drowning but said an unexplained force was pulling him under the water. During the trial, Flanagan testified she pulled the plug and ran for help but did not touch her son.
Prosecutors highlighted evidence that detectives discovered on Flanagan's computer related to searches for Casey Anthony and “leading cause of toddler death.” Anthony was acquitted in 2011 of murdering her 2-year-old daughter in a Florida case that drew national attention.
Steven Flanagan said he can't explain what led his wife to abruptly leave him and seek a divorce, and eventually to kill their son.
“I would just say, ‘Why?' She had everything in the world. I mean, excellent marriage, beautiful child, money in the bank, wonderful church family. I mean you name it — we could go down the list. She had everything,” he said. “And she had talents and abilities, and I would just say, ‘Why?' That's all I can think about saying.”
Bobby Kerlik is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7886 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Comeau’s hat trick leads Penguins; Crosby reaches career points
- Pitt plays best game of the season; routs Kansas State
- Fatal crash closes Flight 93 chapel in Somerset County
- Steelers’ backups Archer, Harris ready to run
- Trib kicks off annual effort to help feed families for Christmas
- Families welcome new members on Adoption Day in Westmoreland County
- Starkey: Rutherford will add when timing’s right
- Police on hunt for suspects in unrelated Penn Township, Manor cases
- State officials prompt UPMC, Highmark to go to mediation to resolve Medicare dispute
- Steelers notebook: Roethlisberger says Saints game is ‘must win’
- Pregnant woman struck by van in North Side dies; doctors save baby