Mother pleads guilty to killing two children years ago - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Mother pleads guilty to killing two children years ago

WARREN, Ohio (AP) - A woman accused of murdering three of her children 30 years ago has pleaded guilty to killing two.

Gloria Greenfield, 53, of nearby Niles, pleaded guilty Tuesday to two first-degree manslaughter charges as part of a plea bargain.

She was sentenced to one year to 20 years in prison and could be eligible for parole after serving 10 months.

Assistant Prosecutor Chris Becker told Trumbull Common Pleas Judge Andrew Logan that the motive apparently was insurance payoffs of $2,000 to $3,000 for each baby.

"I know it doesn't seem like a lot of money, but 30 years ago that money went a lot further," Becker said.

Greenfield had blamed crib death in each case.

The sentence "isn't close to whatever penalty you've imposed on yourself," the judge said.

A defense attorney, Anthony Consoldane, said health concerns from pretrial stress and Greenfield's age played a role in her accepting the plea bargain.

Under terms of the deal, one first-degree murder count was
dismissed in the March 7, 1969, death of 28-day-old Melissa Woods.

Two charges of assault with intent to kill also were dropped.

Two other first-degree murder charges were reduced to
manslaughter.

Melissa's death, originally ruled as sudden infant death
syndrome, was never determined to be a homicide.

After a review of medical records, the coroner overturned
rulings by a predecessor and reclassified the deaths of 17-day-old Theodore Woods on Feb. 8, 1970, and 15-day-old Regina Woods on March 5, 1971, from SIDS to asphyxia. They were declared homicides.

Melissa's cause of death was changed to undetermined.

The dismissed assault charges pertained to Greenfield's
surviving daughter, Gloria Lee Bennight. Prosecutors said Bennight, 29, contacted the coroner about her siblings, asking for their death records because she said she was curious.

Niles police Capt. Guy Simeone said Bennight's unusual records request prompted investigators to take another look at the deaths.

Bennight cried at the plea hearing and had a court employee read a statement in which she told her mother: "You're still my mom. I love you with all my heart and soul."

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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