updated 9/24/2007 8:57:47 PM ET 2007-09-25T00:57:47

A woman who admitted strangling her four young children in an Indiana basement was sentenced Monday to life in prison without parole for each child’s death.

Angelica Alvarez, 27, told Elkhart Circuit Judge Terry Shewmaker she had repented for what she had done and accepted responsibility for the Nov. 14 murders of Jennifer Lopez, 8, Gonzalo Lopez, 6, Daniel Valdez, 4, and Jessica Valdez, 2.

She pleaded guilty to four counts of murder on Sept. 4 in return for Prosecutor Curtis Hill Jr. agreeing to not seek the death penalty.

Alvarez told the court she took the children to the basement of her home in Elkhart, about 15 miles east of South Bend, and gave them sleeping pills before strangling them with her hands. She said she then tried to hang herself with an electrical cord from a lamp. When that didn’t work, Alvarez said, she took sleeping pills, leaving a note saying the children would be better off in heaven.

Prosecutors challenged her account in court Monday, saying toxicology reports indicated the children had not been given sleeping pills. They also said a cord mark was on at least one child.

The father of the two older children, Gonzalo Lopez, said through a translator that the deaths of his children hit him hard.

“We’re moving forward little by little on a very hard road because it’s not easy,” he said.

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