Crime

Woman faces 40 years for mother's death

A judge has sentenced a woman to 40 years in prison for her role in her mother's death and for taking about $55,000 from her.

Cynthia Wallace, 45, of Lexington was convicted in July of wanton murder, neglect and knowing exploitation of an adult — Wanda Maxine Wallace, 79.

A jury recommended that Wallace serve 30 years for the wanton murder charge and an additional 10 years for the neglect charge. The jury also recommended a 10-year sentence for the exploitation conviction that would be served concurrently with the other sentences.

Fayette Circuit Judge Kimberly Bunnell agreed with the jury's recommendation during sentencing on Friday.

Wallace told Bunnell that she would accept whatever sentence the judge imposed.

"I don't think I'll ever forgive myself," she said, crying.

The elder Wallace was found dead in her bed at her home on Tuscaloosa Lane on Oct. 29, 2006. According to court documents, Wanda Maxine Wallace was found in poor living conditions and had not been bathed in weeks; she had severe bed sores and was lying in excrement. The state medical examiner's office estimated that Wallace had been dead as long as a week before authorities were notified.

Wallace said there were a lot of things she would have done differently in caring for her mother.

"If there's a chance I could bring her back for one day, I would lay my life down," she said.

Robert Friedman, Wallace's court-appointed attorney, asked Bunnell to consider changing the jury's verdict to reflect that Wallace is guilty but mentally ill. Friedman said his client suffers from depression. Bunnell denied the motion.

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