A Virginia woman has been found guilty of murdering her two young daughters in an attempt to get revenge on her ex-husband, who planned to move away with one of the girls.
Veronica Youngblood, 37, had admitted that she killed her kids — 15-year-old Sharon Castro and 5-year-old Brooklynn Youngblood — but she pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to the Aug. 5, 2018 murders, according to the Washington Post.
However, the jury was not convinced that mental illness was a major factor in the killings.
The panel on Wednesday, March 22, convicted Youngblood, a former sex worker who defense attorneys said was physically and sexually abused by her own family, of two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of felony firearm use, the newspaper reported.
During the trial, Fairfax County Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Kelsey Gill described Youngblood as a malicious, selfish and deliberate killer.
As her teenage daughter lay dying, she called her ex-husband, Ron Youngblood, to tell him she hated him and she’d shot the kids.
He’d planned to move with the couple’s youngest to Missouri.
Killing the children was her revenge, prosecutors said, according to the Washington Post.
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“This case goes well beyond merely having a mental illness,” Gill said during closing arguments. “This goes well beyond depression. This goes well beyond PTSD. This goes well beyond being suicidal.”
Youngblood had bought a handgun nine days before the killings, Gill told jurors. She had given her kids sleeping gummies so they wouldn’t be able to stop her rampage in their McLean, Virginia apartment.
Little Brooklyn died at the scene from a bullet to the head, according to the Washington Post.
Sharon was shot twice — once in the back and once in the chest — but she lived long enough to call 911 and say her mom pulled the trigger.
She died at the hospital, the Washington Post said.
Youngblood’s defense attorney, Fairfax County Public Defender Dawn Butorac, said the Argentinean-born defendant grew up in poverty and became a sex worker after she had her oldest daughter at the young age of 16.
She was also hearing voices, Butorac said. And she was practicing a South American religion whose followers believe they could communicate with the dead.
Youngblood admitted to investigators on tape that she’d killed her kids, then said she deserved the death penalty.
Prosecutors attacked the defense’s insanity argument and said Youngblood was acting disingenuous, the Washington Post said.
“This person wants to manipulate, this person wants to lie, ensue chaos, all for this person’s personal gain,” said prosecutor Claiborne Richardson. “Ms. Youngblood is spiteful, selfish, vengeful and calculated.”
The trial lasted two weeks. It took the jury a day to declare her guilty.