Criminal Confusion

I normally can read between the lines of any Texas story that involves the criminal jury system but this one has me beat. For the last 5 1/2 years, Montague authorities have been after Vickie Jackson, a former nurse, for the death of several of her patients. The trial was set to begin this week with the charge of capital murder but with the prosecutors not seeking the death penalty. These were the options: She would either be found "not guilty" or "guilty". If guilty, an automatic life sentence would be imposed and she would not become eligible for parole until after 40 years. So what happened? She pled "no contest" and was found guilty by the judge after a "brief hearing". So she gets an automatic life sentence and at least 40 year behind bars. Why plea? The only explanation was: " Her attorney Bruce Martin said Jackson, who has maintained her innocence since her 2002 indictment, pleaded no contest to avoid a trial because she did not want her daughter to be called to testify against her. Martin also said that Jackson felt it was important not to be convicted by a jury because she is not admitting guilt." Source. Doesn't make any sense. No lesser charge? No lesser punishment? Just give the State exactly what they want?