Mother gets 120 years in deaths of 4 daughters

By Paul Duggan
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, December 18, 2009; 3:27 PM

Banita Jacks, convicted of murder and other charges in the deaths of her four daughters in a SE Washington rowhouse, was sentenced to 120 years in prison Friday by a judge who said the case "will probably haunt me fior the rest of my life."

Jacks, 35, whose case highlighted questions about the inadequacy of the District's child welfare system, was arrested in January 2008 after the decomposed remains of the girs, ages 5 to 16, were found in the rowhouse where Jacks had been living like a hermit, with no electricity and litte food.

Patholigists later concluded that the youngsters, discovered in two upstairs bedrooms, had been dead for at least seven months.

Jacks, who repeatedly had declined her attorneys' uging to invoke an insanity defense, was convicted in July in a non-jury trial before D.C. Superior Court Judge Frederick H. Weisberg.

In sentencing her yesterday, Weisberg, who has been in the bench for more than 30 years, said the case occupied his mind in the past two years like no other in his career.

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