Woman Gets Prison in Abandoned Mother’s Death


A Pennsylvania woman will spend six to 12 years in prison for allegedly leaving her bedridden 88-year-old mother alone to die, though the defendant says it was a mercy killing.

The Lancaster Intelligencer Journal/New Era reports 67-year-old Janice Harmes was sentenced Thursday by a Lancaster County judge, after pleading no contest to a charge of third-degree murder.

Authorities say Harmes took Janet Bastendorf's cellphone -- her mother's only link to the outside world -- then left the woman alone without food or water for 10 days before she died on Jan. 6 of an infection.

Harmes tells the judge that she and her mother “had an understanding” that the woman wanted to die at home, not in a hospital. But the judge rejected that explanation calling it “inexcusable and reprehensible.”

Harmes faced up to 40 years in prison.

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