A 38-year-old mother from Virginia has been sentenced to 78 years in prison.

Who is Veronica Youngblood?

Veronica Youngblood administered sleeping pills to her children before shooting them in their beds, as a means of punishing her ex-husband. The tragic incident occurred in their McLean apartment in August 2018 and led to the deaths of 15-year-old Sharon Castro and 5-year-old Brooklynn Youngblood.

Before her sentencing in Fairfax County District Court, Veronica, speaking through a Spanish interpreter, expressed, “I’ve been a good mother, but something happened, I don’t know how to explain it. Something exploded in my mind.”

Sharon managed to call 911 after being shot by her mother, but tragically, she did not survive. The jurors were deeply affected by the distressing 911 call recording, to the extent that they requested therapy.

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Ron Youngblood, the father of the children, claimed that Veronica had given the children melatonin-laced gummies and carried out the murders on August 5 as a means of exacting revenge against him. He stated, “Those girls were leverage to her — leverage to get what she wanted from me. She obviously knew those girls were the most important things in my life.”

The couple had originally planned to move to Missouri together, but Veronica changed her mind at the last moment. A court ruling granted Ron custody of Brooklynn, his biological daughter, and Sharon, Veronica’s daughter from a prior relationship. Prosecutors revealed that Veronica began plotting the heinous crime and purchased a gun one week before the murders.

Veronica pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, but the jury rejected this defense and recommended the lengthy prison term that the judge ultimately imposed.

During the trial, evidence was presented that Veronica had experienced physical and sexual abuse during her childhood and had turned to sex work as a teenager to support her eldest daughter. She grew up in poverty in Argentina.

The defense sought to have Veronica serve the two murder sentences concurrently rather than consecutively, which would have reduced her prison time to 42 years, but this request was denied by Fairfax County Circuit Court Judge Randy Bellows. Judge Bellows remarked, “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.”

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Ron, who was present in court for the sentencing, expressed his knowledge of Veronica’s anger toward him but never imagined she could commit such a horrific act against their daughters.