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A judge in Fairfax County, Virginia, stuck to the jury’s recommendation when sentencing a local mother to 78 years in prison in murdering her two daughters to spite her Navy pilot ex-husband.
Authorities have said that Veronica Youngblood, 38, fatally shot Brooklynn Youngblood, 5, and Sharon Castro, 15. Brooklynn died at the scene of a gunshot to the head. Sharon, suffering gunshot wounds to her chest and back, managed to call 911. She passed away at the hospital.
The 78-year sentence falls short of what the girls’ father, Ron Youngblood, wanted. He wanted his ex-wife to serve life in prison, he told The Washington Post after sentencing on Friday.
“It’s been well over five years since I lost my girls,” he reportedly said. “I’ve come up with ways of coping, but I am never going to recover. I made those girls promises. I tried to raise them by example. But keeping them alive was the promise I couldn’t keep.”
Fairfax County Circuit Court Judge Randy Bellows said that he saw no reason to sentence defendant Youngblood below the jury’s recommendation, but the law did not allow him to increase it, according to The Associated Press.
Veronica Youngblood had backed out a divorce agreement to move the family from Virginia to Missouri, prosecutors said in the Post report. Ron Youngblood was going to take Brooklynn there. Veronica Youngblood purchased a gun nine days before the Aug. 5, 2018, murders, intending to use it on the girls, prosecutors said. Defendant Youngblood gave the girls sleeping pill gummies before carrying out the act.
More Law&Crime coverage: Mother who drugged and smothered children to death then called 911 from the police station lobby watches insanity defense fall flat
She lashed out at a hearing in March before jurors handed down their recommendation.
“No, no, no!” she shouted at the time, according to WUSA. Youngblood reportedly kept yelling even as the judge cleared the room.
A shocker just now in a Fairfax courtroom. Veronica Youngblood, the McLean mom just convicted of murdering her 5 and 15 year old daughters, leaped up in the middle of the sentencing and started screaming. She had to be wrestled out of the court. @wusa9 pic.twitter.com/fNByvdZx5d
— Bruce Leshan (@BruceLeshan) March 23, 2023
“This person wants to manipulate, this person wants to lie, ensue chaos, all for this person’s personal gain,” prosecutor Claiborne Richardson reportedly has said about the defendant. “Ms. Youngblood is spiteful, selfish, vengeful and calculated.”
Youngblood had pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. Fairfax Chief Public Defender Dawn Butorac reasserted at formal sentencing the question of her mental health, according to the Post. He maintained that her love for her daughters was “undeniable.”
“You cannot ignore the trauma she had as a child,” he said. “You cannot ignore the role of her marriage and her ex-husband.”
Ron Youngblood reportedly denied being abusive.
The defense has claimed that Veronica Youngblood experienced physical and sexual abusive at the hands of relatives in Argentina. At 16, she turned to sex work to care for both her younger sister and Sharon. The defense reportedly said she met Ron Youngblood through sex work, and the couple married in 2009. Brooklynn was born in 2012.
“I’ve been a good mother, but something happened, I don’t know how to explain it,” defendant Youngblood told Judge Bellows through a Spanish-language interpreter during a more than half-hour statement at sentencing, according to the AP. “Something exploded in my mind.”
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