Update: Jurors sentenced Veronica Youngblood to up to 78 years in prison. She received 36 years each for the two counts of first-degree murder and three years each for two counts of use of a firearm in commission of a murder, Fairfax County prosecutors announced Monday afternoon. A judge will hand down the formal sentence in a hearing scheduled for Sept. 22.
“Sharon and Brooklynn are two children that should be alive today,” Commonwealth Attorney Steve Descano said in a statement obtained by Law&Crime. “I have an 11-year-old daughter who has her whole life ahead of her — and it guts me to imagine her life cut short. This case is a terrible tragedy and I hope today’s verdict brings a measure of healing for the family.”
Our original article is below.
Virginia woman and convicted murderer Veronica Youngblood, 37, was kicked out of court for lashing out during her sentencing hearing for killing her two daughters, Brooklynn Youngblood, 5, and Sharon Castro, 15.
“No, no, no!” she shouted on Thursday, according to WUSA. Youngblood reportedly kept yelling even as the judge cleared the room.
A shocker just now in a Fairfax courtroom. Veronica Youngblood, the McLean mom just convicted of murdering her 5 and 15 year old daughters, leaped up in the middle of the sentencing and started screaming. She had to be wrestled out of the court. @wusa9 pic.twitter.com/fNByvdZx5d
— Bruce Leshan (@BruceLeshan) March 23, 2023
Jurors in Fairfax County convicted Youngblood on Wednesday for two counts each of first-degree murder and felony firearm use. She fatally shot Brooklynn and Sharon on Aug. 5, 2018 at their apartment in the community of McLean, according to The Washington Post. Brooklynn was shot in the head and died at the scene. Sharon, despite suffering gunshot wounds to her chest and back, managed to call 911 and reveal that her mother shot her. She died at a hospital.
Prosecutors say that at the same time Sharon Castro was calling police, Youngblood left a message for her ex-husband Ron Youngblood, telling him that she shot their children and that she hated him, according to prosecutors at trial.
“The suspect, 33-year-old Veronica Youngblood, was found in Loudoun County after an acquaintance called police when Youngblood knocked on their front door,” Fairfax County police said in 2018.
Veronica Youngblood, 33, of McLean, was charged with murder after last night’s shooting in the 1500 block of Lincoln Circle. She is held without bond. #FCPD pic.twitter.com/1xs8oOzCYH
— Fairfax County Police (@FairfaxCountyPD) August 6, 2018
According to prosecutors, she killed her children to get revenge on her ex, who was planning to move to Missouri with their younger daughter.
“This person wants to manipulate, this person wants to lie, ensue chaos, all for this person’s personal gain,” prosecutor Claiborne Richardson reportedly said. “Ms. Youngblood is spiteful, selfish, vengeful and calculated.”
Authorities said defendant Youngblood purchased the gun nine days before the killings, intending to use it on her daughters. She gave them sleeping pill gummies before the incident.
Youngblood pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. The defense brought up allegations that relatives subjected her to physical and even sexual abuse when she was growing up in Argentina. Pregnant at 16, she ended up going into sex work to take care off her younger sister and raise Sharon. The defense reportedly said she met Ron Youngblood through sex work, and the couple married in 2009. Brooklynn was born in 2012.
Veronica testified about her experience surviving poverty and abuse. Her sister, Maria Kaczuba, testified about defendant Youngblood practicing a religion called Umbanda, whose believers thought they could communicate with the dead, according to the Post.
“I don’t live in a world where there is black or white,” Fairfax County Public Defender Dawn Butorac reportedly said. “I live in a world where there are a lot of shades of gray. And that’s what we’re seeing here.”
Ron, who had deployed overseas during the relationship, sat in court Thursday as Veronica testified and blamed him for their daughters’ deaths.
“Why did you leave me?” defendant Youngblood called out to him. WUSA described the man as stoic. “Why did you leave me alone with the girls? None of this would have happened!”
Ron Youngblood testified about the pain he experienced losing his daughters. He spoke of the memorials he built for them in Chantilly, Virginia, and his Missouri hometown, both of which carry the same inscription.
“Children are true miracles,” the memorials say, according to Ron Youngblood’s testimony.
Jurors were set to continue deliberating defendant Youngblood’s sentence on Monday. They must decide between a sentence of 20 years to life.
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]