W.Va. mother sentenced to life in prison for death of daughter
Lena Lunsford received a life sentence Monday with no chance for parole for her conviction on the charge of murder of a child by failure to provide necessities. She also received the maximum sentence on the charge of death of a child by a parent by child abuse, which carries a sentence of 40 years.
Lunsford also received the maximum sentence on the charges of child abuse resulting in injury, which carries a sentence of two to 10 years, and concealment of a dead body, which carries a sentence of one to five years. The sentences will be served consecutively.
In court, Lunsford spoke for the first time since her arrest.
"With all due respect, I feel that there was no possible way I could get a fair trial in Lewis County. Hopefully soon, somewhere else, I'll be given a new trial where they can base their decisions on the facts of the case," she told the judge.
Lunsford was convicted in April in the death of Aliayah Lunsford, who was reported missing by her mother on Sept. 24, 2011.
Lunsford's daughters, then 9 and 11, testified that Lunsford hit Aliayah in the head with a broken-off piece of a bed board slat on the evening of Sept. 23, 2011. They testified that the following morning Lunsford put Aliayah’s lifeless body into a laundry basket and then covered it with more clothes.
"I would definitely say I'm sorry that I didn't do it sooner and told the truth sooner," Destiny told Eyewitness News in an exclusive interview in May.
The sisters testified that Lunsford drove them to a remote area of Vadis in Lewis County and carried the laundry basket with Aliayah’s body into the woods and then returned with just the basket.
"I think it just shows who she really is. I think it just shows that she doesn't want to take accountability for her actions," Craig Cole said after the hearing. Cole adopted five of Lunsford's children.
"Lena will never be able to do harm to another child again," Cole said.
Lunsford's attorneys plan to appeal her conviction to the West Virginia Supreme Court.