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Phoenix mother will spend life in prison for killing two young daughters

Retta Cruse was sentenced Friday after pleading guilty to two counts of first-degree murder.

PHOENIX — Editor's Note: The above video is from an earlier broadcast.

A Valley mother was sentenced Friday for killing her two young daughters last year by giving them prescription drugs. 

Retta Cruse, 36, will spend the rest of her life in prison after pleading guilty to two counts of first-degree murder, according to the Maricopa County Attorney's Office. 

Cruse was arrested last September after her two daughters, ages 4 and 9, were found deceased in the family's Phoenix apartment. 

Police said Cruse used a mixture of prescription drugs and over-the-counter medication to sedate and overdose the girls before harming herself with a knife. 

At the time of the incident, a witness told Phoenix police the mother had been upset over losing custody of one of her daughters, court records show.  

Kevin Maddox, the father of one of the victims, told 12News last year he was given custody of his daughter and didn't understand why she was never returned to him in New Jersey.

“She took my baby's life from me," Maddox said. "From my family...from her sister.”

Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell said the young victims were "callously" killed by the one person who should have been protecting them from harm. 

"This office is committed to ensuring justice for the most vulnerable in society and the killing of two young children at the hands of their mother is an unspeakable act,” Mitchell said in a statement.

Mitchell's office said Cruse will never be eligible for early release from prison. 

RELATED: 'You should probably never get out of prison': Suspect sentenced for murdering 21-year-old Mesa store clerk in 2015

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