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Melissa Huckaby Sentenced To Life For Killing An Eight-Year-Old Girl

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No humor here. Just disbelief. Yesterday, a former Sunday School teacher was sentenced to life for murdering an eight-year-girl and disposing of the body in a suitcase.

Sandra Cantu’s family may never know why the bubbly 8-year-old was murdered and stuffed into a suitcase by Melissa Huckaby, but they may have gotten some measure of closure Monday after Huckaby was finally sentenced to spend the rest of her life in a California prison for the brutal act. [CBS News]

Is that not the worst news paired with the most flippant lede, ever? Huckaby was also originally charged with "two counts of rape and lewd or lascivious conduct with a child" but they were dropped as part of deal struck between Huckaby and prosecutors to plead guilty and avoid the death penalty. If you care to know the complete chronology of every stomach-turning, coldly pragmatic step the woman took in disposing body, you can read it here.

For some reason, horrifying and senseless acts of violence are always way more shocking when they come from a woman. Women do kill, but it’s often a reaction to persistant, abusive circumstances, and it’s usually set off by men. Still, the number of female killers is nowhere near the number of male killers. And in instances where women have killed with no motive or plausible defense – like the mother who drowned her five children 2001 – they plead insanity. But Huckaby didn’t go with this. Despite not having a history of abusive behavior or mental illness (that we know of), despite not having any real or imagined reason for killing eight-year-old child Sandra Cantu, she submitted. Huckaby even expressed regret – if you can consider that proof of right-thinking, non-psychotic behavior – and claimed to have no idea why she killed Cantu.

"I wish I could give you an explanaion for what happened, my own explanation, but I still cannot understand why I did what I did…I still do not have an answer. This is a question I will struggle with for the rest of my life."

You can watch her whole statement here. And there’s no apparent animosity or blame in connection with the child, either. Cantu was friends with Huckaby’s own daughter and says at the beginning of the video, "I loved Sandra very much. She was a sweet and innocent little girl."

Via AP