PORTLAND, Ore. -- Amanda Jo Stott-Smith will serve a life sentence for throwing her son to his death off a bridge over the Willamette River.

Stott-Smith eventually pleaded guilty to forcing her two children off the Sellwood Bridge in Portland last spring.

The Tualatin mother changed her plea to guilty last week. On Thursday, Stott-Smith got a life sentence with the possibility of parole in 35 years.

I just want to say that to all those I hurt, especially my children, I am deeply sorry, she said in court Thursday. And I am thankful for everyone who came today and I am thankful for the words expressed and I hope that someday you can all forgive me.

She pushed or threw her two children from the bridge in Southwest Portland in the early morning hours of May 23, 2009. She was found a few hours later threatening to commit suicide in a downtown Portland parking garage.

The true nature of this crime will never make sense to me, nor anyone else, father Jason Smith said. No explainations for why it happened, no explainations of the thoughts of the murderer who killed my son will ever make sense to anyone. Not a day goes by that I don't think of him ... with all the love that a father could ever have for a son.

Smith expressed some hope, saying his daughter was doing better than anyone could have ever hoped or ever dreamed.

As she suffers in prison, I hope she realizes that her suffering pales in comparison to the suffering that my daughter and my son went through the night she threw them from a bridge in Portland into an icy cold river in the middle of the night.

Stott-Smith faces eight counts of aggravated murder and attempted aggravated murder for the death of her 4-year-old son and the near-drowning of her 7-year-old daughter.

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Eldon Smith drowned from the 75-foot plunge. His sister was rescued from the Willamette River by nearby residents who heard moans in the darkness and took their motorboat out to investigate.

Stott-Smith initially pleaded not guilty at her arraignment, last June.

Without a plea arrangement she could have faced the death penalty, according to Oregon statute.

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