Erie County prosecutors want a judge to impose the maximum prison term of 50 years to life on Barbara James, who murdered her two infant daughters, court and law enforcement sources said Wednesday.
Prosecutors argue that consecutive prison terms of 25 years to life are warranted for Mrs. James, 30, for the murders of her two daughters.
Mrs. James was convicted on Oct. 12 of murder, attempted murder of her son, assault and weapons possession.
At the request of her attorneys, Erie County Judge John V. Rogowski adjourned her sentencing, scheduled for today, and ordered a Dec. 28 hearing on defense efforts to have the jury verdict set aside on legal grounds. Court officials said Mrs. James might be sentenced Dec. 28.
Rogowski must impose a minimum prison term of 15 years to life.
Rosemarie A. Wyman, one of Mrs. James' court-assigned attorneys, said she and co-counsel Joel L. Daniels want to file a motion asking Rogowski to set aside the jury verdict.
Mrs. Wyman declined to comment on the sentencing memorandum.
District Attorney Kevin M. Dillon and Diane M. LaVallee, the prosecutor in the case, said they are barred by state law from disclosing the prosecution sentencing recommendation. Rogowski and his staff also declined to comment.
However, law enforcement and court sources confirmed the prosecution request for consecutive sentences on each of the two murder charges.
The jury rejected an insanity defense in the slayings of Mrs. James' daughters, Victoria James, 20 months, and Brittany James, 8 months, in the defendant's Roma Avenue flat about July 20, 1989. She also attacked her son, David Gottwald III, now 10, with a pickax.