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Mother who pleaded guilty to leaving her child in burning car says case 'ruined my life'

Sommer Wilford is escorted out of the Shelby County Courthouse to begin serving a prison sentence for murder. Wilford pleaded guilty to leaving her child inside a burning car in 2014. (Stephen Quinn | abc3340.com)

The Shelby County mother who pleaded guilty to leaving her child in a burning car gave a tear-filled apology Monday. Moments later Sommer Wilford was led out of the courtroom and on her way to prison.

"It ruined my life. It ruined my whole family, and I'm ready to just get this over with," said Wilford about her 20-year murder sentence. Wilford pleaded guilty to avoid a potential life sentence if the case went to trial. The Shelby County District Attorney's Office said it accepted the plea deal after consultation with law enforcement and members of the victim's family.

Wilford did not mention her son during her brief apology but had spoken about him in previous conversations with ABC 33/40 News.

Jayden Brodie Allen died when Wilford's car caught fire outside a bank in Alabaster in 2014. According to court documents, Wilford got out of her car and tried to bang on the doors at the bank. A bush was trapped under Wilford's car, which then caught on fire as a result of the car's heat. Documents show the windows in the car were rolled down but authorities say Wilford made no effort to save her 19-month-old son.

Wilford admitted to ABC 33/40 News in December she had been drinking and claimed she had no memory of the fateful night in February 2014. Prosecutors and police didn't buy her story. "This child did not have to perish this way." said Alabaster Police Chief Curtis Rigney.

Alabaster Police were among the first to arrive and discover Allen's body. A handful of their investigators were in the courtroom Monday to see Wilford sent to prison. "It was heartbreaking and we just wanted to make sure the person responsible for that child's death paid the price for that," said Rigney. The department and the Shelby County District Attorney's Office say they will challenge any attempt she makes to seek parole.

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