An Alabama woman who helped barbarically torture and murder her commonlaw-husband's
two small children has been sentenced to death.
Heather Leavell-Keaton was sentenced to die by lethal injection Thursday, six
months after the children's father, John DeBlase, was handed the same
Keaton was found guilty of poisoning the children, Natalie, 5, and Chase, 3,
with anti-freeze in their meals but it was the choking that ultimately killed them,
the court heard.
After enduring months of being burned with cigarettes and hot candle wax, the
oldest child was duct-taped and stuffed inside of a suitcase for 12 hours in
When she was finally released she was choked and her body dumped in a
garbage bag in woods near Citronelle, Ala.
Three months later, after detectives say Natalie's brother started crying and
asking about her in public, creating a "liability," Chase was taped to a broom
handle and left in the corner of the couple's bedroom overnight.
Eventually he too was choked to death and his body tossed in woods outside
Vancleave, Miss. in Dec. 2010. Their skeletal remains were found a few days
Prosecutors said Keaton was jealous of Natalie and wanted them both dead.
With her sentence, she becomes only the fourth woman on Alabama's death
row and the first in Mobile County.
The last woman killed in the state was in 2002 by the electric chair.