Phoenix mother accused of drugging, killing daughters to spend life in prison

A Phoenix mother will spend the rest of her life in prison after she was convicted of killing her two daughters with prescription drugs.

A Maricopa County judge sentenced Retta Cruse to two natural life prison sentences, "ensuring she will not be eligible for release from prison in her lifetime."

Court documents say Cruse, 35, gave her two girls ages 4 and 9 drugs to sedate them at a home near 13th Street and Mountain View back in September of 2021.

An investigation revealed that the children had been sedated with prescription and over-the-counter medication, and they likely overdosed from the drugs. Acetaminophen and oxycodone were both found near the girls' bodies, court documents showed.

Police say they also found a letter saying Cruse was worried about losing custody of the girls.

The mother was hospitalized after she stabbed herself while barricaded in a bedroom.

"While in the hospital, Retta made admissions to hospital staff as to her involvement in taking the life of her oldest daughter and attempting to take her own life," documents said.

Cruse pleaded guilty to two first-degree murder charges on a plea deal.

Retta Cruse

Retta Cruse

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