Mom convicted of starving adopted daughter to death gets 3 life sentences

An Iowa mother convicted of first-degree murder and three counts of kidnapping was sentenced to serve three consecutive life sentences without parole Friday for starving three of her four adopted children until one of them died.

According to the Des Moines Register, Judge Karen Romano called Nicole Finn's actions inexcusable and barred her from having any contact with her surviving adopted children, saying, "The court cannot imagine what kind of mental trauma these children have suffered."

Finn reportedly abused three of the four children she adopted from foster care by pulling them out of public school and locking them away in her home, where she slowly starved them. At one point, the teenagers escaped the home to go panhandling for food, after which Finn forbade them from ever leaving their shared room and continued to withhold food from them, authorities said. The children said they drank from the toilet out of extreme thirst and gave each other sponge baths out of a cat's litter box.

In October, 16-year-old Natalie Finn died from cardiac arrest while weighing just 81 pounds and wearing only an adult diaper, authorities said.

While Nicole Finn did not comment prior to her sentencing, she indicated that she plans to appeal the decision, alleging misconduct by her attorneys and an inability to present evidence in her defense. Prosecutors, on the other hand, insisted that “if there was ever a case deserving consecutive life sentences, this would be that case.”

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Nicole Finn's estranged husband, Joseph, also faces multiple felony counts, including kidnapping and child endangerment, and is set to go on trial in April.

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