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Tracey Zetzsche gets 20 years for killing son

Tracey Zetzsche, 53, of Westerlo, whose son was

Tracey Zetzsche, 53, of Westerlo, whose son was a Commack High School graduate was sentenced to 20 years for stabbing and pounding him with a hammer until he died in their upstate home last year.(July 31, 2012) Credit: Albany County DA

A mother was sentenced Friday to 20 years in prison for killing her son, a Commack High School graduate, in their upstate home -- stabbing and pounding him repeatedly with a hammer.

Tracey Zetzsche, 53, of Westerlo, had pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter in the July 2012 death of Gabriel Philby-Zetzsche, 22, whose body was discovered several days later by a family member.

Zetzsche said she did not remember killing her son, and experts from both the defense and the office of District Attorney P. David Soares agreed she had amnesia.

Authorities said she killed her son, who had limited use of one of his arms because of cerebral palsy, sometime between July 26 and July 30.

"I do know that my son is gone . . . The worst punishment is that I may have caused my son's death," Zetzsche told Albany County Court Judge Stephen Herrick before he imposed the sentence, the Times Union newspaper reported in Albany.

Zetzsche later interrupted the judge to add, "I was his mom."

The plea bargain reached in the case calls for Zetzsche's prison term to be followed by five years of post-release supervision.

Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple said Zetzsche stayed in the apartment with the body, which was found in an upstairs bedroom. He said an autopsy showed the victim had been killed by a stab wound to the chest and multiple blunt force stab wounds.

Philby-Zetzsche had been described by his friends and former high school principal as someone whose upbeat personality stood out, never let his physical disability get in the way and loved chatting about his favorite teams, the Knicks and Yankees.

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