- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 19, 2016

GREENSBURG, Pa. (AP) - A woman has been sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole in the bludgeoning death of her mother on New Year’s Eve 2013 in western Pennsylvania.

Twenty-seven-year-old Sarah Vercauteren pleaded guilty Tuesday in Westmoreland County to first-degree murder in the death of 51-year-old Dawn Marie Wagner in Forbes Trail Mobile Home Park in Salem Township.

Vercauteren told Judge Christopher Feliciani that she wanted to take responsibility for her actions and deserved a life sentence.

Police said Vercauteren hit her mother 18 times with a hammer and strangled her when the older woman refused to let her take her car. She was previously charged with stealing from employees to pay for drugs.

Vercauteren tearfully apologized after her stepfather said he was “still working on forgiving” her but loved her.

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