A former prostitute who lulled her two daughters to sleep with melatonin gummy bears before shooting them has been sentenced to 78 years in prison.
Veronica Youngblood, 38, was arrested in August 2018 after shooting her daughters Sharon Castro, 15, and Brooklynn Youngblood, 5, in their McLean, Virginia, apartment.
The former sex worker was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of criminal use of firearms in March 2023.
Before she was sentenced Sept. 22, Youngblood spoke for more than 30 minutes about her daughters and the challenges 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 the trial, Youngblood pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, but was denied.
The jury did not believe “mental illness” played a role in Youngblood’s decision to give his children gummies before killing them.
Defense lawyers had asked that the two murder sentences be cumulative and not consecutive, 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 to let one sentence run out after another.
Judge Bellows said during sentencing: “Mothers and fathers have many responsibilities, but none are more serious 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 in the back and chest and died in hospital in 2018.
Veronica Youngblood is shown with her daughters, Sharon Castro and Brooklynn Youngblood. She then killed in revenge
Prosecutor Kelsey Gill said the killings were intentional and that Youngblood bought the gun she used a week earlier.
Gill told the court: “There are truly no words to 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 sentencing hearing: “There is no outcome that can restore these children 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 plan to move in with their youngest, Brooklynn. She married her husband in 2009.
Authorities said she gave her two daughters sleeping pills before shooting them in their bed.
Youngblood killed her children in revenge for her ex-husband’s plan to move in with their youngest, Brooklynn. She married her husband in 2009
The older daughter survived long enough to call 911 and tell a dispatcher that she had been shot by her mother.
Jurors heard a recording of that call during Youngblood’s two-week trial and ended up wondering whether they could benefit from trauma therapy because of the trauma of the call.
As her teenage daughter lay dying, Veronica called her ex-husband, Ron Youngblood, to tell him that she hated him and that she had shot the children.
She told detectives she planned to kill them and herself following a lengthy custody dispute.
At the time of her trial, Youngblood told investigators that she was guilty and deserved the death penalty for the murder of her children. Prosecutors said she was manipulative and calculated.
Brooklynn was shot in the head instantly while Sharon was shot in the back and once in the chest and died at the hospital.
Sharon called police after she was shot in the back and once in the chest and reported that it was her mother who shot them. She died in hospital.
Youngblood grew up poor in Argentina, was physically and sexually abused by family members as a child, gave birth to Sharon at age 16, and was forced to resort to sex work when she was a teenager to support her daughter.