Mom sentenced for fatally stabbing son

The Associated Press
Saturday July 06, 2002

REDWOOD CITY — A woman who pleaded guilty to killing her 13-year-old son was sentenced to 37 years to life in prison Friday in San Mateo County Superior Court. 

Donna Anderson, 49, will have to serve the full 37 years before becoming eligible for parole, Deputy District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said. 

The former obstetrician, who is from Minnesota, pleaded guilty on June 7 to fatally stabbing her son Stephen Burns on Feb. 24 while he was visiting his father, Frank Burns, in Burlingame. She was also convicted of stabbing Frank Burns, her ex-husband, in the leg as he tried to restrain her. 

“The one question we did not get answered is why,” Wagstaffe said. “She refused to answer, and that will be forever unknown.” 

After being declared competent to stand trial, Anderson dismissed her lawyer and acted as her own counsel. 

Anderson read from a lengthy, typewritten statement at her sentencing, Wagstaffe said, telling the court she expressed regret for her crime by pleading guilty and accepting her life in prison. 

“She is easily the most brilliant defendant I have prosecuted in my 25 years,” Wagstaffe said. 

A wrongful death suit filed by the Burns family against Anderson will likely be brought to court this fall.