A 37-year-old Virginia woman, Veronica Youngblood, has been convicted of murdering her two daughters, 15-year-old Sharon Castro and 5-year-old Brooklynn Youngblood, in a harrowing act of revenge against her ex-husband.
Prosecutors argued that Youngblood committed the murders to retaliate against her ex-husband’s plans to move away with their youngest daughter.
Although Youngblood confessed to the killings that took place on August 5, 2018, she pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. The jury, however, remained unconvinced that mental illness played a significant role in the murders.
Youngblood was found guilty on two counts of murder in the first degree. She was also convicted of two counts of felony firearm use.
During the trial, Fairfax County Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Kelsey Gill depicted Youngblood as a malicious, selfish, and deliberate killer. According to Gill, the case went beyond mental illness, depression, PTSD, or suicidal tendencies. Youngblood had purchased a handgun nine days before the murders and given her children sleeping gummies to render them defenseless in their McLean, Virginia apartment.
Brooklynn Youngblood died at the scene from a gunshot to the head, while Sharon Castro was shot twice, once in the back and once in the chest. She managed to call 911 and identify her mother as the shooter before succumbing to her injuries at the hospital.
Fairfax County Public Defender Dawn Butorac, Youngblood’s defense attorney, provided background on the defendant’s upbringing. Born in Argentina, Youngblood grew up in poverty and became a sex worker at the age of 16 after giving birth to her oldest daughter. She also reportedly heard voices and practiced a South American religion that involved communicating with the dead.
Despite admitting to the murders on tape and stating she deserved the death penalty, prosecutors challenged the defense’s insanity argument, accusing Youngblood of being manipulative, deceitful, and vengeful. The trial lasted two weeks, with the jury taking just one day to find her guilty.