An ex-prostitute who sedated her two daughters with melatonin-laced gummy bears before fatally shooting them has been sentenced to 78 years in prison.
Veronica Youngblood, 38, was arrested August 2018 after shooting her daughters Sharon Castro, 15, and Brooklynn Youngblood, 5, in their apartment in McLean, Virginia.
The former sex worker was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of felony firearm use in March 2023.
Before she was sentenced on September 22, Youngblood spoke for more than 30 minutes about her daughters and the difficulties she had raising them.
She told the judge through a Spanish interpreter: ‘I’ve been a good mother, but something happened, I don’t know how to explain it. Something exploded in my mind.’
After being convicted in March, Veronica Youngblood was sentenced to 78 years in prison for the murder of her two daughters
During trial, Youngblood pleaded not guilty on grounds of insanity but was rejected.
The jury did not believe that ‘mental illness’ played a role in the Youngblood’s decision to give her children sleeping gummies before shooting them dead.
Defense lawyers had asked that the two murder sentences run concurrently instead of consecutively, which would have reduced the sentence from 78 years to 42 years.
Fairfax County Circuit Court Judge Randy Bellows said he saw no reason to reduce the jury’s recommendation of letting one sentence run after another.
Judge Bellows said at the sentencing: ‘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.’
Veronica Youngblood, left, and her daughter, Sharon Castro, who was shot on her back and chest and died at the hospital in 2018
Veronica Youngblood is shown with her daughters, Sharon Castro and Brooklynn Youngblood. She killed then in revenge
Prosecutor Kelsey Gill said that the killings were intentional and that Youngblood bought the gun she used a week before.
Gill said in court: ‘There really aren’t words that can describe the depravity with which Ms. Youngblood planned and carried out the execution of her children.
Public defender Dawn Butorac said she expects Youngblood to appeal.
Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano, whose office prosecuted the case, said in a statement after the sentence hearing: ‘There is no outcome that can give these children back the lives that were taken from them, but today´s sentence is a measure of justice for their family.’
According to The Washington Post, Youngblood killed her children in revenge for her ex-husband’s plans to relocate with their youngest, Brooklynn. She had married her husband in 2009.
Authorities said she fed both daughters the sleeping pill gummies before shooting them in their beds.
Youngblood killed her children in revenge for her ex-husband’s plans to relocate with their youngest, Brooklynn. She had married her husband in 2009
The elder daughter survived long enough to call 911 and tell a dispatcher she had been shot by her mother.
Jurors heard a recording of that call during Youngblood’s two-week trial and jurors ended up asking whether they could receive trauma therapy because of how traumatic the call was.
As her teenage daughter lay dying, Veronica called her ex-husband, Ron Youngblood to say she hated him and that she had shot the children.
She told detectives that she planned to kill them and herself following a protracted custody dispute.
At the time of her trial, Youngblood was recorded telling investigators she was guilty and deserved the death penalty for killing her children. Prosecutors said that she was manipulative and calculated.
Brooklynn had died from a gunshot to the head on the spot while Sharon was shot once in the back and once in the chest and died in the hospital.
Sharon called the police after she was shot once in the back and once in the chest and reported that her mother had shot them. She died at the hospital.
Youngblood grew up in poverty in Argentina, was physically and sexually abused as a child by family members, gave birth to Sharon when she was 16 and was forced to resort to sex work as a teenager to support her daughter.