An Indiana teen who reportedly wanted to “free” his siblings “from hell” has been convicted of murder on Friday, Aug. 20, for smothering his two baby siblings to death.

Nickalas Kedrowitz, a 17-year-old teen from Indiana, has been found guilty of murdering Desiree McCartney, his two-year-old half-sister, and Nathaniel Ritz, his eleven-month-old stepbrother, according to NBC affiliate WTHR.

Kedrowitz was 13-years-old at the time of the crime, the killings committed while he was living with the victims as well as his mother, Christina McCartney. They lived in Osgood, Indiana, over 60 miles outside Indianapolis.

Desiree McCartney was killed in May 2017, with Kedrowitz admitting smothering her to death with a towel as she came out of a bathtub. His stepbrother, Nathaniel Ritz, was killed in July 2017, with Kedrowitz confessing to suffocating him with a blanket, according to WLWT.

The deaths happened over 90 days apart from each other.

A judge examined Kedrowitz extensively and deemed him fit to stand trial as an adult for his crimes. Indiana law allows people aged 12 years old and above to stand trial as an adult for heinous crimes such as murder.

Ripley County Prosecuting Attorney Ric Hertel has remarked that Kedrowitz told detectives that he killed the children to “[free] his siblings from hell.”

Christina McCartney, when asked about what the statement meant, said that it came from his abusive stepdad who lived with them at the time, according to Fox affiliate WXIX.

“He witnessed him being mean to the babies. That he pushed them down on purpose. He would lock them up in the bedroom to try to shut them up. He painted a pretty bad picture,” she told Hertel.

McCartney defended her son’s actions, saying that he was under duress and forced to kill the siblings by an ex-boyfriend, possibly the same abusive stepdad.

“He did it under threat. He was told that if he didn’t do what he was being told he would be killed and that Stephen would kill me,” she said.

Kedrowitz will be sentenced on Nov. 10. He may spend up to 65 years in prison.

Kedrowitz's 11-month-old stepbrother was killed by suffocation with a blanket; a similar method was used when he killed his 2-year-old half-sister. This is a representational image. Zahra Amiri/Unsplash.

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