Image: Renee Bowman
Ann Heisenfelt  /  AP
Renee Bowman, seen here being escorted into a courthouse in Prince Frederick, Md., on Jan. 8, was sentenced on Monday to two consecutive life terms in the deaths of two adopted daughters.
updated 3/22/2010 1:11:54 PM ET 2010-03-22T17:11:54

A Maryland woman convicted of killing her two adopted daughters and storing their bodies in a home freezer was sentenced Monday to life without parole.

Renee Bowman, 44, was convicted last month of two counts of first-degree murder and three counts of first-degree child abuse. A third adopted daughter survived the abuse.

"You sentenced these two young innocent children in the dawn of their lives to a death chamber, and for you that option is not available," Montgomery County Circuit Judge Michael J. Algeo told Bowman before handing down the maximum sentence — two consecutive life terms, plus 75 years in prison for the abuse. The crimes are not eligible for the death penalty in Maryland.

Bowman showed no emotion during the hearing.

"I am very sorry for the abuse of the girls," Bowman told the judge in an even voice. "It haunts me. It haunts me every day."

Bowman's lawyers maintain that she did not kill the girls, though they acknowledge she is guilty of abusing them. Public defender Alan Drew said the defense would appeal the murder convictions, but he declined to comment further.

Collected subsidies
Bowman kept the two young girls' bodies on ice for months while she continued to collect subsidies paid to parents who adopt special-needs children in the District of Columbia. She received a total of about $150,000 after the adoptions.

In January, Bowman was sentenced in Calvert County to 25 years in prison for abusing her surviving daughter. That girl escaped from Bowman's home in September 2008 and was found wandering the neighborhood. Authorities searched Bowman's home and found the bodies in the freezer.

The survivor, now 9 and living with new foster parents, testified at the trial about the abuse she and her sisters endured — being beaten with a baseball bat and shoes and choked until they lost consciousness.

The sisters who died, Minnet and Jasmine Bowman, were both younger than 10, though authorities were never able to determine exactly when they were killed. Nobody knew they were missing, and there are no records the children were ever enrolled in school.

Prosecutors said Bowman killed them while the family was living in Rockville and took the freezer with her when the family moved first to Charles County and later to Lusby, in Calvert County.

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