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San Diego woman gets 15 years to life for killing autistic son

January 28, 2013 |  6:31 pm


A 37-year-old San Diego woman was sentenced Monday to 15 years to life in prison after pleading guilty to second-degree murder in the drowning of her autistic son.

"I hate you with all my heart and soul," Duane Corby told his wife, Patricia Corby, before San Diego County Superior Court Judge Charles Gill sentenced her for the death of 4-year-old Daniel.

Patricia Corby told police that she killed their son because the burden of caring for an autistic child had become unbearable. She drowned the boy in the family bathtub March 31 while her husband was at work, according to evidence submitted in court.

After killing her son, she tried to commit suicide but failed, according to evidence. She wrapped the boy in a blanket and took his lifeless body to a police substation responsible for their Carmel Valley neighborhood. 

Under Gill's sentence, Corby will not be eligible for a reduced sentence due to good behavior while in prison.

Corby's husband told investigators that he had never seen any signs of mental illness in his wife. The family had spent $70,000 trying to find help for their son.

Corby kept her head bowed in court as relatives told the judge about the pain caused by Daniel's death, including an aunt who said the boy is probably looking down from heaven and asking, "Mama, why did you kill me?"


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--Tony Perry in San Diego

Photo: Patricia Corby during arraignment. Credit: Fox-5 San Diego