Karen Murphy, the Virginia mother who inadvertently left her two-year-old son in her minivan and found him dead hours later, today pleaded guilty to two counts of misdemeanor child neglect and will not go to prison, ABC affiliate WJLA reported.
Murphy sobbed as she left the courthouse, WJLA said.
"She's devastated by the loss of her son, she's going to have to deal with that, and she is dealing with that," said Edward MacMahon, Murphy's attorney.
According to press reports and court documents, on June 17 Murphy, a veterinarian, left her son, Ryan, strapped in his car seat while she worked at an animal hospital. When she parked in the driveway of her home in nearby Bristow seven hours later, she saw the boy and tried unsuccessfully to revive him. He had died of heatstroke.
According to court documents, Murphy had previously left Ryan in the car while she worked at an animal hospital, back in January. Twenty minutes later, an employee of Ryan's day care center called Murphy, who realized her mistake.
This pattern led prosecutors to charge Murphy with felony murder along with the two misdemeanors. The maximum sentence for all three charges could have been 40 years in prison.
Today Murphy received a sentence of two years in prison, which was suspended, WJLA said, adding she also got six years' probation and was ordered to do 400 hours of community service, to be served at an animal shelter.
The owner of a Facebook page titled "Supporters of Dr Karen Murphy, DVM" posted the following statement: "Today Karen received the compassion she's shown & given to all of us through the years. The horrendous charges against her were greatly reduced and settled… Our prayers have been answered!"