By Bee Staff
Bee researcher Linda Beymer contributed to this report
Two Sacramento area women who killed their children and received life sentences are due parole hearings early in June.
-Darlene Brazil, 45, California Institution for Women.
An El Dorado County Superior Court judge sentenced Brazil to 15 years to life in prison for the May 20, 1986 murders of her two young sons, The Bee reported.
Brazil admitted the killings in a fit of despair over her ex-husband.
Two court-appointed psychiatrists had found that Brazil was insane at the time of the killings. But her attorney said Brazil agreed to the plea bargain of two counts of second-degree murder because she did not want to gamble on the possibility that a jury would disagree with the psychiatrists.
Brazil told detectives she smothered her sons, Brian Adolph Jr., 1, and William J. Dingess, 4, because she saw no purpose in life after she and her ex-husband split up for a second time.
According to court records, Brazil and her ex-husband had known each other since elementary school and were married in 1981. The marriage lasted less than three years.
Brazil and her son moved to New York, where she had a second son by another man. But after that relationship ended, she moved back to Placerville.
According to a probation report, Brazil resumed living with her first husband but that relationship ended in disagreements over his attention to other women. On May 19, 1986, according to sheriff's reports, the ex-husband told Brazil he didn't want to see her again and threatened a custody fight over his son.
Shortly after midnight the next day, Brazil smothered her sons with a pillow. She slashed her wrists and tightened a belt around her neck. Although she said she lost consciousness, she was not seriously injured.
Brazil told the probation that she thought she and her sons would be together in heaven.
-Cindy Kay May, 46, California Institution for Women.
A Sacramento Superior Court judge sentenced May to two consecutive prison terms of 15-years-to-life for killing and mutilating her 70-year-old mother and 5-year-old daughter with a kitchen knife on June 5, 1990.
While there is no question the Rio Linda woman is unbalanced, probably because of sustained drug use, her crime was "a great violence, one of viciousness and callousness," said Judge William Ridgeway in imposing the sentence.
"She should be confined for as long as the law allows," he added.
The judge tacked an extra year onto the sentence for the use of a knife. May's attorney acknowledged the grisly nature of the crime, but argued for concurrent sentences based on his client's diminished mental capacity.
After a week of deliberation, a jury found May guilty of two counts of second-degree murder. The jurors, who had been asked by the prosecution to find May guilty of first-degree murder, opted for the lesser charge because they felt May was mentally ill at the time of the June 5, 1990, murders.
A different jury found May was legally competent to stand trial. Against her attorney's wishes, she refused to plead not guilty by reason of insanity.
If you want to give your opinion of an inmate's suitability for parole, you may mail a letter to:
Martin Hoshino, executive director
Board of Parole Hearings
1515 K Street
Sacramento, CA 95811
For more information on the Board of Parole Hearings, go to: