Alabama mom strangles and then slits the throats of her 3-year-old and 9-year-old sons

CULLMAN, AL – An Alabama mother has been handed down a life sentence for the harrowing murders of her two young sons, a case that has shaken the local community. Sarah Tapia Franco, 37, received her sentence on Thursday, with the judge ordering two concurrent life terms at a state correctional facility.

The ghastly incident occurred nearly five years ago in Cullman County, roughly 60 miles north of Birmingham. It was on the afternoon of October 12, 2019, that deputies responded to an emergency call at Franco’s residence. Authorities were confronted with a chilling scene: Franco’s two sons, 3-year-old Alvaro Garcia and 9-year-old Taylor Garcia had been brutally killed.

Cullman County Sheriff Matt Gentry described the case as one among those that law enforcement can never fully prepare for. Upon establishing a security perimeter, a deployed K-9 unit led officers to an open field adjacent to the house, where Franco was discovered with multiple self-inflicted wounds and a knife on her person.

After the incident, Franco was promptly airlifted to an intensive care unit due to her injuries. During her hospitalization, she was under constant guard by deputies before her subsequent transfer to a state mental health facility for further assessment and treatment.

Franco’s indictment by a grand jury came early in 2020, wherein she faced additional capital murder charges for the killing of two or more persons. However, these additional charges were later dismissed. In early March of the same year, Franco entered a plea of guilty to two counts of capital murder in connection to her children’s deaths.

The Cullman County Circuit Judge, Martha Williams, also ordered Franco to pay significant financial penalties, including $20,000 to the Crime Victim’s Compensation Assessment, $10,584 in restitution, and $10,000 in court costs.

District Attorney Champ Crocker expressed his belief that no punishment could be considered significant enough for the crimes. With the life sentences set to run concurrently, it is anticipated that Franco will spend the remainder of her life behind bars.

In a rural community still reeling from the tragedy, the case serves as a brutal reminder of the incomprehensible acts that can occur within families and the long-lasting impact these events have on everyone involved.