A Pennsylvania woman pleaded guilty today to murdering one of her infant children after the skeletal remains of five babies were found in her home.
Michele Kalina, 45, expressed remorse at her sentencing but has not confessed to killing all five newborns she gave birth to secretly. A Berks County judge sentenced her to between 20 and 40 years in prison.
In July 2010, Kalina's husband and teenage daughter discovered containers in a storage closet in the family's Reading home that contained the remains of five infants. They were found in storage containers and an insulated cooler, according to court documents.
"One body was encased in concrete," Berks County District Attorney John Adams said. "It was a very bizarre case. The others were wrapped in garbage bags."
The skeletal remains were estimated to be from 32 weeks in gestation to newly born.
"There were five skeletal remains, but because of the condition of those skeletal remains it was very difficult to determine a cause of death. But we had enough information to charge her with one body," Adams told ABCNews.com.
In addition to the third degree murder charge, Kalina was found guilty of abusing the corpse of an infant and failing to report the death of a child.
Kalina, a home health nurse's aide, was carrying on an affair and neither her lover nor her husband knew about her pregnancies, according to court documents. Kalina gave birth to another child in October 2003 at St. Joseph's Medical Center and gave that child up for adoption, according to court documents.
Her husband of 25 years testified during Kalina's trial that he still loves his wife and plans to stay married to her, the Reading Eagle reported. He testified that they stopped being intimate with one another in 1992, the paper reported.
Her boyfriend, who she dated intermittently since 1996, has not been identified by authorities. When Kalina's stomach appeared bigger to her boyfriend, she told him it was a cyst, according to court documents. The boyfriend told authorities that the "cyst" returned at least two to three times, according to court records. It's unclear when Kalina gave birth to the children.
"Our investigation revealed that she hid these pregnancies and births from everyone," said District Attorney Adams in a press release. "Unfortunately, there are many questions that only Ms. Kalina can answer."
Kalina told authorities that her husband and daughter were forbidden from going into her closet and that she had "been meaning to clean that closet," according to court documents.
Her defense team claimed she was mentally ill and had suffered sexual and psychological abuse as a chilld.
A psychiatrist testified that Kalina remembers little if anything about the births of the infants, the Reading Eagle reported.
"She shows no emotion," said Dr. Jerome Gottlieb. "It's like she is talking about someone else."
Kalina's 19-year-old daughter also testified and described her mother as a good mother. Kalina also had a son born with cerebral palsy that died at age 13.