A Virginia mother who calmed her daughters with melatonin gummies before fatally shooting them five years ago was sentenced Friday to 78 years in prison.
Veronica Youngblood, 38, was sentenced to the hefty sentence after the former sex worker was convicted in March of two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of aggravated use of a weapon.
Youngblood shot her daughters Sharon Castro, 15, and Brooklynn Youngblood, 5, in their beds in her McLean apartment after drugging them with melatonin gummies in August 2018.
Brooklynn, who died at the scene, was shot once in the head, while Sharon was shot once in the back and once in the chest and later died in hospital.
After the teen was shot, he was able to call 911 and tell the dispatcher that her mother had pulled the trigger.
Jurors who heard Sharon’s call during the two-week trial were so traumatized by it that they asked if they could receive therapy.
Youngblood told investigators that after a protracted custody battle, she planned to kill them and herself.
As her teenage daughter lay dying, she called her ex-husband Ron Youngblood to tell him she hated him and had shot her children. He originally planned to move to Missouri with the girls, but at his ex’s behest, he agreed to just take Brooklynn with him.
Youngblood bought the gun she used to take her daughters’ lives nine days before the disturbing murders.
The mother of two, who grew up in Argentina, called herself a “good mother” during the sentencing and said “something happened in her brain.”
“I don’t know how to explain it, something exploded in my head,” she said through a translator during a 30-minute speech about her girls and the difficulties she faced raising them.
Youngblood presented an insanity defense in court, claiming she heard voices, but it was rejected.
The jury recommended 78 years in prison after hearing during sentencing that the killer mother grew up in poverty, was physically and sexually abused as a child and turned to sex work as a teenager to support her older daughter.
Defense attorneys asked that the two sentences be run concurrently, which would have reduced the sentence from 78 years to 42 years, which Fairfax County Circuit Court Judge Randy Bellows did not overturn.
“Mothers and fathers have many responsibilities, but none are more serious than ensuring the safety of their children. Tragically, her mother became the instrument of her death,” he said.
With post wires