Prosecutor to seek life without parole for Amber Pasztor

Booking photo shows Amber Pasztor. (Photo Provided/Elkhart Police Department)
Booking photo shows Amber Pasztor. (Photo Provided/Elkhart Police Department)

ELKHART, Ind. (WANE) – Elkhart County Prosecuting Attorney, Curtis T. Hill Jr., is seeking life without parole for Amber Pasztor.

Pasztor, 29, has been charged with the Sept. 26 murders of her children Liliana Hernandez, 7, and Rene Pasztor, 6.

On that September morning, Pasztor took her children from the home of her father, the legal guardian of the children. Pasztor told News 18’s sister station, WANE-TV, in a jailhouse interview she was initially driving aimlessly, but killed her children after the Amber Alert was issued to find her on the radio.

“That’s when I went straight to Elkhart and that’s when I killed my kids,” Pasztor said.

Pasztor claimed that someone was going to harm her children, and believed the only solution was to send them to heaven. She said she did not have the heart to shoot them, so she smothered them.

Hill is pursuing life without parole because, under Indiana law, an enhanced sentence of life without parole may be sought by the prosecuting attorney alleging that the murder victim was less than 12 years of age. In addition, evidence that the accused has committed an additional murder is, in and of itself, a qualifying aggravating circumstance. Pasztor is accused of killing her children, one after the other.

“Indiana law provides that murders alleged to have occurred under certain circumstances are particularly heinous and therefore subject to harsher penalty considerations,” Hill said in a press release.

Hill had previously said he was not ruling out pursuing the death penalty.

“Clearly, in this particular case, there are some aggravating circumstances that would qualify this as a capital case and it will be some time before we make further evaluations as to whether we would look at those additional sanctions as a possibility,” Hill said.

WANE-TV reached out to Hill to learn why he chose not to seek the death penalty against Pasztor. He did not immediately respond.

Pasztor went before a judge at Elkhart Circuit Court on Monday for the first time. The judge set a trial date of Jan. 23, 2017. She will be appointed a public defender since she does not have the money to pay for a lawyer.

Pasztor’s next court date is set for Oct. 27.