Grandmother avoids death penalty in boy’s drowning death

The German national accused of drowning her 5-year-old grandson in a bathtub while vacationing in Florida will likely spend the rest of her life in prison.

Marianne Bordt, 73, could have received the death penalty if convicted of killing the Fulton County boy in January 2010. But under a plea deal accepted Monday, Bordt’s charges were reduced, and she was sentenced to 21 1/2 years in prison, according to various Florida media outlets.

Bordt was arrested Jan. 4, 2010, after telling police she didn’t want the boy, Camden Hiers, growing up in a divorced home. Bordt is accused of drowning the boy in a St. George Island, Fla., rental condo while her husband went to the store, police have said.

Camden was on vacation with his maternal grandparents and the time of his death. A woman also at the beach with her husband and two sons told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that her family hadn’t noticed anything amiss before Camden’s death.

“He was just so sweet, and just the cutest little boy,” Christy Gandy previously said.

Bordt was indicted on a murder charge the following month, but pleaded no contest to a lesser second-degree murder charge on Monday.

Camden’s parents, David and Karin Hiers, both of metro Atlanta, divorced in 2006 and shared custody of their only child, a family attorney previously told the AJC.

Bordt’s attorneys have contended the woman suffers from mental problems, due in part to a World War II Soviet bombing raid. But the boy’s father contends the woman was not mentally ill and deserved a harsher sentence.

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— The Associated Press contributed to this report.