A Virginia mother received a 78-year prison sentence for the chilling murders of her two daughters, whom she had sedated with melatonin gummies before shooting them dead. The sentencing took place on Friday, concluding a case that has spanned five years.
Veronica Youngblood, aged 38, faced this severe penalty after her conviction on two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of felony firearm use in March. Previously employed as a sex worker, Youngblood committed the heinous act in her McLean apartment where she drugged her daughters Sharon Castro, 15, and Brooklynn Youngblood, 5, with melatonin gummies in August 2018.
The younger daughter Brooklynn died instantly from a gunshot wound to the head. Sharon, however, sustained shots to the back and chest and later succumbed to her injuries at the hospital.
“I don’t know how to explain it, something exploded in my mind,” Youngblood said via a translator during a 30-minute speech about her girls and the hardships she faced while raising them.
After being shot, the teenage daughter managed to dial 911 and inform the dispatcher that her mother was the perpetrator. The emotional weight of hearing Sharon’s call during the two-week trial was so intense that jurors requested therapy.
Youngblood disclosed to detectives that she had intended to kill her daughters and herself, motivated by an ongoing custody battle.
“Mothers and fathers have many responsibilities, but none is more grave than keeping their children safe. Tragically, their mother became the instrument of their death,” Judge Randy Bellows said.
While her teenage daughter lay dying, Youngblood made a call to her ex-husband, Ron Youngblood. She informed him that she had shot their children and expressed her hatred for him. Ron Youngblood had initially planned to relocate to Missouri with both daughters but decided to take only Brooklynn after his ex-wife insisted.
Nine days before the murders, Youngblood purchased the handgun she would use to end her daughters’ lives. At her sentencing, Youngblood, who was raised in Argentina, described herself as a “good mother,” attributing her actions to an inexplicable mental breakdown.
Youngblood’s defense team presented an insanity plea, asserting that she had heard voices. This defense was ultimately dismissed by the court. The jury’s recommendation for a 78-year sentence came after hearing that Youngblood had endured a life marred by poverty, physical and sexual abuse, and teenage involvement in sex work to support her older daughter.
The defense had requested that the two sentences run concurrently, which would have reduced the total sentence to 42 years. This request was denied by Fairfax County Circuit Court Judge Bellows, emphasizing the gravity of a parent’s duty to protect their children — a duty that Youngblood tragically failed to uphold.
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