- Associated Press - Thursday, June 23, 2016

PICKENS, S.C. (AP) - The Latest on a murder trial for a South Carolina mother in the fatal shooting of her two children (all times local).

5:20 p.m.

A 38-year-old South Carolina woman has been sentenced to life in prison without parole for killing her two children in a shooting she said she thought would reincarnate her kids in a better world.

Judge Brian Gibbons said Thursday that Suzanna Simpson’s actions were so shocking she deserved the harshest sentence possible after a Pickens County jury found her guilty of murder.

Simpson showed little reaction, mouthing “bye” to her family as she walked out of court.

Simpson’s husband survived the shooting with brain damage and a bullet still in his skull. His mother told the judge the injuries destroyed parts of his memory, including almost everything he can recall about his 7-year-old daughter and 5-year-old son.

Simpson’s lawyer had asked the jury to find her not guilty by reason of insanity because she didn’t know right from wrong during the May 2013 killings.

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4:50 p.m.

Jurors have decided a South Carolina woman who said she killed her two children so they could be reincarnated in a better world is guilty of murder.

The Pickens County jury deliberated about two-and-a-half hours Thursday. Suzanna Simpson will face 30 years to life in prison when she is sentenced Thursday afternoon.

Jurors rejected the defense argument that the 38-year-old mother was not guilty by reason of insanity, which would have meant she didn’t know right from wrong. They also rejected a verdict of guilty but mentally ill that would have allowed Simpson to receive more mental health treatment in prison.

A defense lawyer put her arm around Simpson. She showed little reaction.

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3:45 p.m.

A jury deciding if a South Carolina mother was insane when she shot and killed her two children has asked a judge to tell them the difference between guilty and guilty but mentally ill.

The question came after about two hours of deliberations on Thursday.

The judge reread the charge and sent jurors back to deliberate. He didn’t tell them the difference, but in both cases, 38-year-old Suzanna Simpson would face 30 years to life in prison. She would get more mental health treatment behind bars if found guilty but mentally ill.

Simpson’s lawyer says she is not guilty by reason of insanity. A psychiatrist testified Simpson thought her children would be reincarnated in a better world in 2013 when she killed her 7-year-old daughter and 5-year-old son as they slept.

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2:05 p.m.

A jury will soon decide whether a South Carolina mother who says she shot and killed her children because she thought they would be reincarnated in a better world is guilty of murder or insane.

Four days of testimony in 38-year-old Suzanna Simpson’s trial ended Thursday. Both prosecutors and defense attorneys agree she shot at her husband in their Pickens County home six times in May 2013, then grabbed a second, bigger gun and killed her 5-year-old son and 7-year-old daughter in their beds as they slept. Her husband survived with permanent brain damage.

Simpson’s lawyer says she should be found not guilty by reason of insanity because she was delusional.

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