National Post

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Saturday, September 11, 1999

Jury recommends death for mother who shot 4 sons
Judge to decide sentence: Woman upset over failed relationships, addictions
The Associated Press


Howard Lipin, The Associated Press
Susan Eubanks, who killed her four sons with gunshots to the head, should be executed, a jury decided yesterday.

VISTA, Calif. - A woman, who shot her four sons to death and blamed it on drugs, alcohol and bad relationships with men, should be executed, a jury recommended Thursday.

Susan Eubanks showed no emotion when jurors issued their decision following two days of deliberations.

Superior Court Judge Joan Weber can choose to ignore the jury and sentence Eubanks to life in prison at a sentencing hearing later this year.

"It's a terrible thing to have to condemn someone, but in the end, she condemned herself every time she pulled the trigger," one juror said outside the courtroom.

Eubanks, 35, killed the four boys, ages four to 14, in October, 1997, because she was apparently despondent over her broken relationships with men. She was separated from her second husband, Eric Eubanks, and she had broken up with her boyfriend that day.

The unemployed nursing assistant wrote five suicide notes before the killings. One to Mr. Eubanks stated, "You betrayed me. I've lost everybody I've loved. Now, it's time for you to do the same."

She shot all the boys in the head, two of them twice, and stopped once to reload the .38-calibre handgun.

She killed the oldest boy, Brandon, while he was watching television. The other boys -- Austin 7, Brigham, 6, and Matthew, 4 -- were shot in a bedroom, where they were sitting on their bunk beds playing a video game with their 5-year-old cousin, who was not harmed.

She then shot herself in the stomach.

Defence lawyers contended Eubanks killed the children in a moment of weakness culminating several years of addiction to prescription drugs for work injuries and her failed relationships with men.

There are 544 people waiting on California's death row. Ten are women. Only three women have been executed in the United States since 1976. The last time a woman was put to death in California was in 1962.

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