(Springfield News Leader) – At the sentencing hearing Tuesday, Sarah Staudte told the courtroom she has forgiven her sister.
Rachel Staudte also spoke at the sentencing hearing. Through tears, she said that Sarah is her inspiration.
“What’s really amazing is that despite the bad, there are those who forgive,” Rachel Staudte said. “Thank you for showing me what I can be.”
Rachel Staudte apologized for participating in the murder plot instead of standing up to her mother.
“I was scared, but being scared is no excuse,” she said.
Staudte’s attorney Clate Baker said his client is pleased to have the case resolved.
Greene County Prosecutor Dan Patterson said he was glad to get some justice for the victims.
Mark Staudte, 61, died in April 2012, and Shaun Staudte, 26, died that September. Both deaths were originally classified by the Greene County Medical Examiner’s Office as due to natural causes.
When Sarah Staudte was hospitalized in June 2013, however, the family’s pastor came forward and told police Diane Staudte was responsible for Sarah’s sickness, as well as the deaths of her husband and son.
Diane and Rachel Staudte were charged with murder in June 2013. Prosecutors have said they believe Diane Staudte planned the murders and solicited her daughter’s help.
A probable cause statement used to charge Diane Staudte in 2013 indicated that she told police she poisoned her son because “he was worse than a pest,” her husband because “she hated him” and her daughter because she was unemployed and had student loans.
When Rachel Staudte pleaded guilty in May, prosecutors read the facts of the case, including a chilling poem that was found in Rachel Staudte’s purse when she was arrested.
The poem ended with the line, “Only the quiet ones will be left, my mother, my little sister and me.”
A third daughter in the family, age 11 at the time charges were announced, was not harmed and placed into foster care.
Diane Staudte entered an Alford plea in January, meaning which acknowledges prosecutors have enough evidence for a conviction but is not an admission that the person committed the crime. Diane Staudte claimed she suffered from post traumatic stress disorder and did not have a full memory of the events.
Sarah Staudte declined an interview request from the News-Leader and other local media outlets, saying she had done an exclusive interview with ABC News.
The symptoms of antifreeze poisoning are subtle.
Within the first 12 hours of the ingestion, a person who has been poisoned — accidentally or not — might act drunk. The central nervous system gets slowed down, according to the U.S. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.
The harmful compound in antifreeze is ethylene glycol, a sweet-tasting and odorless substance that is used in a variety of mechanical processes because of its low freezing point and high boiling point.
Springfield pharmacist Terry Barks told the News-Leader in 2013 that antifreeze poisoning mimics the symptoms of numerous other, more common health issues. Autopsies generally don’t test for antifreeze poisoning because it is so rare.