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Who Is Veronica Youngblood? Mother Facing Life for Murdering Her Daughters

Newsweek 3/27/2023 Chloe Mayer
33-year-old Veronica Youngblood was taken to the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center, where she is being held without bond. © Fairfax County PD 33-year-old Veronica Youngblood was taken to the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center, where she is being held without bond.

A Virginia mother is set to spend the rest of her life behind bars after brutally murdering her two children in a bid to spite her ex-husband after being found guilty in court last week.

Veronica Youngblood, 37, who drugged her daughters before shooting them in their beds, was convicted of the double murder last Wednesday following a two-week trial and on Monday was told she will serve 78 years in prison. Little 5-year-old Brooklynn Youngblood was killed instantly after being shot in the head, but 15-year-old Sharon Castro, who was shot in the chest and the back, survived long enough to call 911.

"I don't wanna die," the teenager could be heard saying as she struggled to breathe in a recording that was played during the trial. Castro told first responders that her mother shot her and died days later in the hospital following the attack at the family's home in McLean, Virginia, back on August 5, 2018.

Youngblood, who had given her children sleeping gummies before shooting them, called her ex-husband, Ronald Youngblood, to tell him that she hated him, had shot the girls, and planned to kill herself too, The Washington Post reported last week.

The former couple had been fighting a custody battle over Ronald's wish to take Brooklynn away to live with him in Missouri, a case he had recently won, the New York Post reported.

Youngblood pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, but the jury did not buy Fairfax County public defender Dawn Butorac's claims that mental illness played a role in the murders. They were also unmoved by her lawyers' claims that the former sex worker had been physically and sexually abused by her own family growing up, which they suggested had triggered her mental problems.

"This case goes well beyond merely having a mental illness," Fairfax County Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Kelsey Gill told Fairfax County Court, who added that the crime was born out of a sick wish for revenge and that the mother of two had deliberately bought the handgun nine days before the shooting for the purpose of murdering her own children.

"This person wants to manipulate, this person wants to lie, ensue chaos, all for this person's personal gain. Ms. Youngblood is spiteful, selfish, vengeful and calculated," prosecutor Claiborne Richardson added.

Newsweek reached out to both legal teams by email for further information and comment.

Commonwealth's Attorney Steve Descano replied with a statement saying: "Sharon and Brooklynn are two children that should be alive today. I have an 11-year-old daughter who has her whole life ahead of her—and it guts me to imagine her life cut short. This case is a terrible tragedy and I hope today's verdict brings a measure of healing for the family."

The jury found Youngblood guilty of two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of the use of a firearm to commit a murder. Jurors determined the sentence, which the judge has discretion over, and sentenced Youngblood to 36 years for each murder of her child, and three years for each firearm offence, making a combined total of 78 years. A sentencing hearing will be held on September 22 to hear additional victim testimony and impose the final sentence.

During her police interview, Youngblood admitted killing her children and said she deserved the death penalty, although Virginia abolished it in 2021.

Youngblood, who is Argentinian, had her first child at 16 years old. She went on to marry Ronald in 2009 in Las Vegas, according to The Fayetteville Observer. The couple travelled around due to Ronald's job with the U.S. Navy, but later settled in Virginia and divorced in 2016.

The case follows a string of other high-profile murders that have rocked the country, as parents were accused of killing their children.

Midwife Lindsay Clancy, 32, stands accused of strangling her three children, aged between 7 months and 5 years old. Investigators are said to be probing the possibility that Clancy was suffering from postpartum psychosis, and her husband Patrick Clancy has begged for forgiveness and compassion for his wife.

Back in April last year, a mom and dad were arrested on suspicion of murder and neglect after allegedly allowing their 2-month-old baby son to starve to death.

Meanwhile, disgraced attorney Alex Murdaugh, scion of a South Carolina legal dynasty, was found guilty earlier this month of murdering his wife and 22-year-old son in a trial that gripped the nation. He still faces other charges relating to fraud, while questions have been raised about other mysterious deaths of people close to the prominent family.

Update 3/31/23 3:51 a.m. ET: This article was updated to include additional information about the sentence and a comment from Commonwealth's Attorney Steve Descano.

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