Kimberly Marie Maurer sentenced to life in prison without parole

Kimberly Marie Maurer (County of Lebanon)

Kimberly Marie Maurer (County of Lebanon)

A Pennsylvania woman will spend the rest of her life behind bars for cruelly torturing and killing her fiance’s 12-year-old son.

Judge Bradford Charles of the Lebanon County Court of Common Pleas on Tuesday handed down a life sentence without the possibility of parole for a 37-year-old Kimberly-Marie Maurer for the cruel death 2020 of Max Schoenberger.

As previously reported by Law&Crime, in March it took a jury less than an hour to return a guilty verdict against Maurer on multiple crimes related to the horrific life and brutal death of Max, which prosecutors said was committed “in a state of constant suffering existed”.

The jury convicted Maurer of seven felonies, including first-degree murder, conspiracy and endangering the welfare of a child. Under Pennsylvania state law, both charges are subject to mandatory life sentences, the Lebanon County Attorney’s Office confirmed to Law&Crime.

“I was always brought up to believe that there is no such thing as an unforgivable sin,” Judge Charles said during Wednesday’s sentencing hearing, according to a report by The Patriot News. “But that’s as close as it gets.”

Judge Charles has also lashed out at Maurer for trying to frame Max’s 43-year-old father, according to reports Scott Schoenbergerfor the boy’s death.

“Any attempt to pin all the blame on one is misguided or misplaced,” Charles reportedly told Maurer. “You are not a parent, but you are a human, and no human should allow this to happen.”

Scott Schollenberger pleaded guilty to a number of felonies in February, including criminal murder, child molestation and conspiracy. Judge Charles similarly ordered Schollenberger to serve the rest of his life in state prison.

During Wednesday’s hearing, Maurer addressed the court and reportedly read a prepared statement.

“I thought I would do anything to help Max,” she said Lebanon Daily News. “I wish I could go back in time to bring him back. It still makes me sick to this day. That makes me a coward and a failure. I know I failed and didn’t do enough.”

In addition to the life sentence without parole, Charles Maurer also ordered to serve another consecutive sentence of 10 to 20 years behind bars.

“The consecutive verdicts were based on the child endangerment charge and that is based on the behavioral history, ie the 10 years of malnutrition, abuse and neglect that the two defendants inflicted on Maxwell,” the Lebanon County District Attorney said Pier Hess Graf said in a press conference after the proceedings.

Graf also stressed that despite the verdict, true justice simply isn’t possible in the case.

“I think we have as good a result as possible,” said Graf. “It’s not justice. There is no justice in that. There is no bringing back this child. What happened cannot be undone.”

As previously reported by Law&Crime, on May 26, 2020, Annville Township Police along with members of the Lebanon County Detective Bureau found Max’s emaciated body in the second floor bedroom of the home the boy shared with Maurer and Schollenberger.

Describing the grisly scene, prosecutors said a completely naked Max and the bed were both “completely covered in feces.”

“Scratch marks appeared on the victim’s bed sheets; These marks made indentations on the stained feces,” the prosecutor said. “Police removed the bedding and found piles of moldy feces under the frame itself.”

Despite the window, Max’s room was reportedly pitch dark because the blinds were taped to the window frames and the doors were bolted shut, authorities said. The only furniture in the room was Max’s horrid bed frame and mattress. Meanwhile, the door leading outside had three metal hooks. Schollenberger and Maurer reportedly admitted they used those hooks to lock the boy up, according to police.

The couple never enrolled Max in school and reportedly haven’t taken him to a doctor in over a decade.

An autopsy performed by a coroner revealed that Max was severely malnourished. Weighing just 47.5 pounds and standing just 50 inches tall, the kid was also significantly undersized for his age. Ultimately, the child’s cause of death was determined to be blunt force homicide, with hunger and malnutrition serving as aggravating factors.

Deputy District Attorney for Montgomery County Edward McCann allegedly told Lebanon Daily that Max’s death was the worst child abuse case he has been involved in in his 32 years as a prosecutor.

“Your child was essentially tortured, imprisoned [and] essentially, his existence was wiped out while he was still alive,” McCann is said to have said. “I’ve never seen a crime scene that looked like this crime scene.”

Maurer’s court-appointed lawyer, Andrew J. RaceShe did not immediately respond to an interview request from Law&Crime.

In an interview with PennLive, Race said he was disappointed with the speed of the jury’s decision and claimed his client had been manipulated by Schollenberger.

“He took the license plate off her car and tracked her location via GPS. He took her phone. When someone in this situation has young children, it’s hard to walk, research shows,” the attorney reportedly said. “The suggestion that she would do this to Maxwell is difficult to understand.”

During Wednesday’s press conference, Graf noted that Maurer’s attorneys have already indicated they plan to appeal on her behalf.

Watch the full press conference below.

Alberto Luperon contributed to this report.

[image via Lebanon County]

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James Brien

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