KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A Kansas City, Missouri, woman was sentenced to life in prison Tuesday after being convicted for killing her 8-year-old son and attempting to kill her 6-year-old son by smothering him.
In August, Aushena Warren, 34, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and first-degree assault in August in Platte County Circuit Court.
The incident happened on June 17, 2017, when Warren tried to smother the 6-year-old while he was in bed and then drowned his 8-year-old brother in a bathtub, according to a news release from Platte County Prosecuting Attorney Eric Zahnd.
Her husband was at work at the time of the murder, and he received a FaceTime call from his 6-year-old son and rushed home.
When the husband got home, Warren was not there, and he found the older son unresponsive in the bathtub.
Emergency responders declared the boy dead at the scene.
The husband testified at the sentencing.
"His mother murdered my son at the tender age of eight," he said, according to the release. "He would be 13 this year, in the 7th grade, excelling at anything he’d set his mind to do. Academics, sports, and being a great big brother! He was such a great kid. He was special. There’s no moment, no minute, no hour in the day that I don’t think of him and wish he were here."
At about 9:42 a.m. that same day, people saw Warren jump from the Kit Bond bridge. The Kansas City Fire Department was conducting water rescue training near the bridge and rescued her.
Warren wrote a note and left it at home, which said:
"Tell the world I’m sorry. I had to save us from this financial crisis. There was no way to fund our lives and I blame myself for that. I had to save the babies from wondering why their parents had to give them up to family or the system. I’m so sorry. Mom, I’m sorry... [Name redacted], I’m sorry. I love you guys... You’ll never understand this and nothing makes this acceptable...but I had to save the babies. [Husband's name redacted]... I’m sorry, I blame myself and lack of everything for us landing here."
Investigators got a warrant to search Warren's iPhone and internet web history where they found internet searches including:
- "how long does it take to drown"
- "how long does it take to suffocate someone"
- "mother murders children"
- "can pillows smother"
- "which kills you faster suffocating or drowning"
- "family of mother who drowned children"
- "Missouri women prison"
- "how I became a murderer"
Warren's defense attorney argued for a probation sentence saying that she was "beset by mental issues," according to the release. Zahnd argued for life in prison.
Judge James Van Amburg sentenced Warren to the maximum sentences for both charges, which was life in prison for second-degree murder and 15 years in prison for first-degree assault.
"Imagine the horror of these two boys, one of whom was drowned by his mother and the other who survived his mother's murderous intentions," Zahnd said in the release. "Life in prison was the only fair and just sentence. Like almost every eight-year-old boy, this murder victim had a lifetime of potential in front of him. It is unbelievably tragic that he did not live to grow into that potential. We can only hope that his surviving little brother will continue to heal from the trauma visited on him and live out his own life of great potential."
For jurisdictions that utilize the Greater Kansas City Crime Stoppers Tips Hotline, anonymous tips can be made by calling 816-474-TIPS (8477), submitting the tip online or through the free mobile app at P3Tips.com.