A Virginia mother who sedated her daughters with melatonin gummies before fatally shooting them five years ago was sentenced to 78 years in prison Friday.
Veronica Youngblood, 38, was handed down the hefty sentence after the former sex worker was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of felony firearm use in March.
Youngblood shot her daughters Sharon Castro, 15, and Brooklynn Youngblood, 5, in their beds in their McLean apartment after drugging them with melatonin gummies in August 2018.
Brooklynn, who died at the scene, was shot once in the head while Sharon was struck once in the back and once in the chest and later died at the hospital.
The teen was able to call 911 after being shot to inform the dispatcher that her mom had pulled the trigger.
Jurors who heard Sharon’s call during the two-week trial were so traumatized by it that they asked if they could receive therapy.
Youngblood told detectives that she planned to kill them and herself following a protracted custody dispute.
As her teenage daughter lay dying, she called her ex-husband, Ron Youngblood, to tell him she hated him and she’d shot their children. He had originally planned to move to Missouri with the girls, but agreed to just take Brooklynn at his ex’s behest.
Youngblood bought the handgun she used to take her daughters’ lives nine days before the disturbing slayings.
The mom of two, who grew up in Argentina, called herself a “good mother” at her sentencing, saying “something happened” in her brain.
“I don’t know how to explain it, something exploded in my mind,” she said via a translator during a 30-minute speech about her girls and the hardships she faced while raising them.
Youngblood presented an insanity defense at trial, claiming she heard voices, but it was rejected.
The jury recommended 78 years in prison after hearing testimony during sentencing that the killer mom grew up in poverty, was physically and sexually abused as a child and turned to sex work as a teen to support her older daughter.
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.