An Iowa mother convicted of first-degree murder and three counts of kidnapping was sentenced to serve three consecutive life sentences without parole on Friday for starving three of her four adopted children until one of them died.
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 over time. 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. In October, 16-year-old Natalie Finn died from cardiac arrest while weighing just 81 pounds.
Jurors were made privy to the details of Finn’s horrific abuse, including disturbing images of Natalie’s lifeless, emaciated body. According to the surviving children, they drank from the toilet out of extreme thirst and gave each other sponge baths out of a cat’s litter box. According to the fourth adoptive child, Natalie choked and vomited before passing away on her bedroom floor wearing just an adult diaper, and 15 minutes passed as Finn attempted to perform CPR on the girl before police were finally called to the scene.
While she did not comment prior to her sentencing, Finn did indicate 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.”
Finn’s estranged husband Joseph, who helped her “care” for the children, faces multiple felony counts, including kidnapping and child endangerment, and is set to go to trial in April.