A Virginia mother who gave her daughters melatonin gummies five years ago to make them sleepy before fatally shooting them received a 78-year prison term on Friday.
Veronica Youngblood, 38, received the severe punishment after being found guilty in March of two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of felony firearm use.
In August 2018, Youngblood shot her daughters Brooklynn Youngblood, 5, and Sharon Castro, 15, as they slept in their beds in their McLean apartment after giving them melatonin gummies.
While Sharon was shot once in the back and once in the chest and later passed away at the hospital, Brooklynn was shot once in the head and died at the scene.
After being shot, the teenager was able to call 911 and tell the dispatcher that her mother had fired the gun.
Jurors who heard Sharon’s call during the two-week trial were so traumatized by it that they asked if they could receive therapy.
After a protracted custody battle, Youngblood told detectives that she intended to ki*ll both of them as well as herself.
She called her ex-husband, Ron Youngblood, as her teenage daughter lay dying to tell him she hated him and had shot their kids. He had initially intended to relocate to Missouri with the girls, but at his ex-girlfriend’s urging, he decided to only take Brooklynn.
Nine days prior to the disturbing kil*lings, Youngblood purchased the handgun that she used to murder her daughters.
At her sentencing, the mother of two, who was raised in Argentina, referred to herself as a “good mother” and claimed that “something happened” in her brain.
During a 30-minute speech about her daughters and the challenges she encountered while raising them, she said through a translator, “I don’t know how to explain it, something exploded in my mind.”
Youngblood claimed she heard voices during the course of the trial, but her insanity defense was rejected.
After hearing testimony during sentencing that the ki*ller mom was raised in poverty, suffered physical and sexual abuse as a child, and later turned to s*ex work as a teen to support her older daughter, the jury recommended 78 years in prison.
Defense lawyers asked that the two sentences run concurrently, which would have reduced the sentence from 78 years to 42 years, which Fairfax County Circuit Court Judge Randy Bellows nixed.
“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,” he said.