Veronica Youngblood, 38, from northern Virginia, received a 78-year prison sentence on Friday for fatally shooting her two daughters after sedating them with melatonin-laced gummies. The harrowing incident took place in their McLean apartment in August 2018. The older daughter, Sharon Castro, 15, managed to call 911 before succumbing to her injuries. This call, played during the trial, left such an impact that jurors sought trauma therapy afterward.
The tragic events were attributed to an intense custody dispute. Ron Youngblood, Veronica’s ex-husband, shared that he had wished to relocate to Missouri with both daughters but only took Brooklynn, the younger one, due to Veronica’s objections.
During the trial, Youngblood’s insanity defense was not accepted. Evidence revealed Youngblood’s tumultuous upbringing in Argentina was marked by poverty, physical and sexual abuse, and resorting to sex work during her teenage years for sustenance.
In an emotional testimony, Youngblood conveyed her challenges as a mother, stating, “Something exploded in my mind.” While her defense pleaded for concurrent sentences, which would have reduced her term to 42 years, Fairfax County Circuit Court Judge Randy Bellows upheld the jury’s recommendation of 78 years, citing the paramount responsibility of parents to ensure their children’s safety.
Prosecutors emphasized the premeditation of the murders, noting that Youngblood had acquired the gun a week prior. Prosecutor Kelsey Gill expressed the depth of Youngblood’s actions, describing it as a preplanned “execution of her children.”
Ron Youngblood chose a courtroom seat away from his ex-wife’s sight, expressing his disbelief that she could harm their daughters. Following the hearing, Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano remarked that while justice was served, it could never replace the young lives lost.