Sentencing set for woman convicted in Alabama child deaths

Heather Leavell Keaton File photo/AL.com
Heather Leavell Keaton
File photo/AL.com

MOBILE, Alabama (AP) — Sentencing is expected to begin for a woman convicted in the deaths of her common-law husband’s children.

Heather Keaton was found guilty of capital murder Wednesday in the death of 3-year-old Chase DeBlase and manslaughter in the death of 4-year-old Natalie DeBlase. Keaton’s sentencing is set to begin Thursday morning.

Prosecutors have said the children were tortured, gagged, choked to death and their bodies were found in remote areas near Citronelle, Alabama and Vancleave, Mississippi. The children’s father, John DeBlase, was convicted in their deaths in November and was sentenced to death in January.

During DeBlase’s trial, his attorneys argued that Keaton’s harsh discipline tactics lead to the children’s deaths. Prosecutors said DeBlase likely killed the children to end their suffering.