A bereaved family in Ohio is making an impassioned plea to Ohio judge Kelly McLaughlin to reconsider the life sentence handed down to 23-year-old Sydney Powell on September 28, following her conviction for the killing of her mother, Brenda Powell.
In a heartfelt letter dated September, Steven Powell, Sydney’s father, expressed his belief that a life sentence is not what Brenda, his late wife, would have desired for their daughter, despite the tragic and violent circumstances surrounding her death. Steven Powell implored the judge to consider a more lenient sentence for his daughter, emphasizing the paramount importance of Sydney’s mental health. He wrote, “I believe that since there can never be true justice in this case, Sydney’s mental health should be our main priority.”
Numerous members of the Powell family echoed Steven Powell’s sentiments in character letters advocating for leniency for Sydney. These sentiments were also echoed by multiple community members who were acquainted with the family and a doctor who had worked alongside Brenda Powell, a child life specialist at Akron Children’s Hospital.
Sydney Powell had pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to the March 2020 killing. At the age of 19, she was diagnosed with schizophrenia. During the incident, she repeatedly stabbed her mother with a steak knife and assaulted her with an iron skillet after Brenda Powell discovered that Sydney had been suspended from the University of Mount Union in Alliance, Ohio, due to her poor academic performance, according to NBC News.
School officials were conversing with Brenda Powell about Sydney’s academic struggles when the attack unfolded. Alarmed by the sounds of screaming on the phone call, the officials promptly alerted the police.
Associate Dean of Students Michelle Gaffney, who testified at the trial, recalled the phone call, stating, “The phone cut off at some point after, I would say, somewhere in the neighborhood of six or seven of those thudding, those sort of thud sounds, and the screaming had continued.” However, a voice claiming to be Brenda Powell answered a subsequent call. The university officials remained skeptical, with Gaffney noting, “It was not Brenda. I was sure it was Sydney.”
Upon their arrival, police discovered Sydney Powell in her family home’s driveway, exhibiting signs of severe distress, including rolling eyes and clawing at the pavement, as reported by The Akron Beacon Journal. Her attorney described her as being “in a catatonic state — not responding to audio stimuli.”
While Sydney Powell maintains that she has only fragmented memories of the day she killed her mother and was experiencing auditory hallucinations and delusions during the murder, a jury found her guilty in September, despite her plea of insanity. She was also convicted of assault and tampering with evidence.
Sydney Powell will be eligible for parole after serving 15 years of her life sentence and will serve a minimum of two years of supervised release if granted parole.
Her defense attorney, Don Malarcik, asserted, “This wasn’t justice,” after her sentencing, as reported by the Akron Beacon Journal. Sydney Powell intends to appeal her sentence, with Stephen Grachanin assigned as her appellate attorney.