After five long years, a Tennesee woman finally faces the repercussions of stabbing her four small children to death in Memphis. Her oldest son, who was seven-years-old ran at the time, ran from the home and survived.
On Feb. 8, Magistrate James Lammey handed down a 51-year sentence to Shanynthia Gardner, now in her mid-30s, during a sentencing hearing for the gruesome murders. The woman is required to serve that specific number of years behind bars before being eligible for parole. Although Gardner tried to plead insanity, Lammey dismissed the claim.
In place of having a jury, Lammey found Gardner guilty of four counts of first-degree murder, child abuse, child endangerment and child abuse during a bench trial on Dec. 21, 2021.
Shelby County prosecutor held a news conference regarding Gardner’s sentence.
On July 1, 2016, Gardner slit the throats of the youngest children– Tallen,4, Sya, 3, Sahvi, 2, and six-month-old Yahzi, inside of the Greens of Irene Apartments in Memphis. A neighbor called the police after seeing Gardner’s oldest son, Dallen, screaming and yelling for help. The same neighbor claimed to see Gardner leave her apartment with a knife. When police arrived at the Memphis apartment, they discovered Gardner with cuts on her neck and wrists. Deputies found the bodies of the four children in two separate rooms.
“I know this is the work of the devil,” Sonya Clayton, Dallen’s grandmother, told reporters. She also disclosed that she hadn’t seen Gardner in years. “I know this is not Shanynthia. And I pray and love Shanynthia.”
The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office investigated to see Gardner had ever been investigated by the Department of Children and Family Services. There had not been any previous complaints.
In court, Gardner’s husband Martin, the father of Tallen, Sya, Sahvi and Yahzi, testified that he had spoken with his wife on the day of the murders. She told the grieving father that they were going to watch a movie. Martin disclosed that nothing seemed out of the ordinary.
Gardner’s sister, Ashley Snodgrass, also testified that her sister had a history of mental health issues. Snodgrass claimed her sister was ‘talking in circles” just days before killing her children. She also said that her sister often seemed paranoid.
It’s not known if the woman will appeal the sentence.