Veronica Youngblood, 37, a Virginia woman, was found guilty of murdering her two children – 15-year-old Sharon Castro and 5-year-old Brooklynn Youngblood – in an attempt to take revenge on her ex-husband, who was planning to move away with the youngest daughter.
Youngblood, a former sex worker who defense attorneys claimed had experienced physical and sexual abuse from her family, pled not guilty on the basis of insanity in the August 5, 2018 murders. However, the jury was unconvinced that mental illness was the cause.
During the trial, Fairfax County Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Kelsey Gill accused Youngblood of being malicious, selfish, and deliberate in her killing. As her teenage daughter lay dying, Youngblood called her ex-husband to express her hatred and to tell him she had shot the kids. Prosecutors argued that the murder was her way of getting vengeance on her ex-husband, as he planned to move away with their youngest.
Nine days prior to the murders, Youngblood had purchased a handgun. She had also given her kids sleeping gummies so they could not intervene. Brooklyn died at the scene after a bullet to the head, while Sharon was shot twice and called 911 before succumbing to her wounds at the hospital.
At the trial, the defense attorney, Dawn Butorac, provided details of Youngblood’s upbringing and her belief in a South American religion which allowed her to communicate with the dead. Youngblood admitted to investigators that she killed her kids and said she deserved the death penalty.
Prosecutors argued that Youngblood was being disingenuous and was only attempting to gain something for herself. The two-week trial ended with the jury taking only a day to convict Youngblood of two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of felony firearm use.