A 21-year-old Akron woman was sentenced Wednesday to life in prison with no chance of parole after pleading guilty to aggravated murder in the 2009 plot to kill her mother.
In exchange for the guilty plea from Taylor M. Marks, who tearfully told the court she was willing to testify against others possibly involved in the plot but not yet charged, prosecutors requested the dismissal of a death-penalty specification.
Summit County Common Pleas Judge Tom Parker granted the request, but before doing so, told family members and friends of the victim, Kristie Marks, that he struggled with the decision.
''This is a sad day in Akron, Ohio,'' Parker said, addressing those who filled nearly three rows of benches in the public gallery.
''In many ways, it's a tragic day, because not only are we coming to grips as a court and a community with the loss of Kristie Marks, we now must come to grips with our loss of Taylor Marks from this community.
''Many people think that a sentence of life without parole is actually a more harsh sentence than a death sentence,'' Parker added, turning his attention to the defendant, ''because the reality is that it is a form of a death sentence. You will never again enjoy the freedom that the rest of us take for granted.''
The judge took considerable steps, as he did earlier in the case with a co-defendant, to ensure that Marks understood she was giving up her rights to a jury trial, the possibility of a lesser sentence in the penalty phase of a trial and any appeals of her plea.
As Marks stood before the bench between her attorneys, Parker also asked whether she understood her life would come to an end ''at the hand of the state, in prison?''
She immediately replied: ''Yes, your honor.''
Marks, a 2008 Copley High School graduate who attended the University of Akron, was indicted in November on a charge of aggravated murder with a death-penalty specification under Ohio's murder-for-hire law.
According to Akron police, she was the motivating force in the plot to kill her mother.
Kristie Marks, who operated the Visiting Angels home health-care business in Medina, was stabbed to death Oct. 24 in a parking lot at an apartment building on Springdale Drive.
A telephone call from her daughter lured her there, police said.
Troy A. Purdie II, 20, who avoided the death penalty by pleading guilty to aggravated murder, admitted to the stabbing during his final court hearing last month.
He had been promised a payment of $5,000, according to evidence placed on the record, but he never received it.
Marks' boyfriend, Brian Scott Smith, 23, is awaiting trial as the third alleged conspirator in the plot. He also is charged with aggravated murder, but is not facing the death penalty. His trial is scheduled for Nov. 15.
As Taylor Marks read from a handwritten statement near the end of Wednesday's hearing, sobbing throughout, she began by saying: ''Today, I got what I deserve for my actions. I lost control of my state of mind, over something small, and took it out on [my mother].''
She concluded by asking for the forgiveness of God and her mother's family and friends.
''I will always love you. You will always be in my thoughts and prayers,'' she said before being led away.
Whatever set the plot in motion has not been explained.
A Victim Services official, who assisted the family in court, said the family does not wish to comment about the case until the conclusion of Smith's trial.