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Pennsylvania mom convicted of strangling 11-year-old son, now faces life sentence

HORSHAM, Pa. (AP) — A mother who strangled her 11-year-old son at their Pennsylvania home last year and then went to New Jersey where she drove her SUV into the ocean has been convicted of murder. Ruth DiRienzo-Whitehead, of Horsham, faces a mandatory life term when she’s sentenced Friday. She was found guilty Thursday following a bench trial. DiRienzo-Whitehead’s lawyers argued she strangled her son, Matthew Whitehead, with a belt on April 10 because she was having a psychotic break due to financial concerns and family issues, and felt she was sparing her son a painful life. Montgomery County prosecutors argued the killing was premeditated, saying she blamed her husband for the family’s financial issues and was motivated to kill by a mix of anger and revenge.

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