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An ex-prostitute from Virginia, who sedated her two daughters with melatonin-laced gummy bears before fatally shooting them in head decided to carry out the murders after she was no longer able to use the girls as ‘leverage’ against her ex-husband.
Veronica Youngblood, 38, was arrested in August 2018 after shooting her daughters Sharon Castro, 15, and Brooklynn Youngblood, five, in their apartment in McLean, Virginia.
The former sex worker was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of felony firearm use in March 2023. On Friday, she was sentenced to almost 80 years in jail.
Ron Youngblood, 52, says he believes the his ex-wife carried out the killings in a bid to inflict as much hurt as possible on him after she had made the decision to stay in Virginia while her ex-husband moved to Missouri.
‘They weren’t the most important things in my life — they were my life. That was all I really cared about. When she took that from me, it’s something I’ll never get back.’
After being convicted in March, Veronica Youngblood was sentenced to 78 years in prison for the murder of her two daughters that she shared with her husband, Ron Youngblood, now 52
Ron, left, had planned to move to Missouri with at least one of his children but his ex-wife decided to exact revenge instead, killing them both
Veronica Youngblood, left, and her daughter, Sharon Castro, who was shot on her back and chest and died at the hospital in 2018
‘Those girls were leverage to her — leverage to get what she wanted from me. She obviously knew those girls were the most important things in my life,’ Youngblood said to the New York Post.
While Veronica wanted to remain in Virginia, a judge decided that Ron could move to Missouri and take his only biological daughter, Brooklynn, along with him. She had married her husband in 2009.
‘When the judge made the decision I could leave with Brooklynn, she saw that she had no more tools to use against me, so she decided to get rid of them,’ he explained.
‘She could do the one thing that could really hurt me and she had been trying it for years and she wasn’t successful at it until she murdered my girls. I wouldn’t put it past her that she would try to do something to me, but I never thought she would have done something to the girls.’
Brooklynn had died from a gunshot to the head while Sharon was shot once in the back and once in the chest, before later dying in the hospital.
Her ex-husband, Ron, 52, pictured, believes the murders were to cause him the maximum possible pain after his ex-wife decided to remain in Virginia while he moved to Missouri
Veronica Youngblood is shown with her daughters, Sharon Castro and Brooklynn Youngblood. She killed them in a horrific act of revenge
During trial, Veronica Youngblood pleaded not guilty on grounds of insanity but her plea was rejected.
The jury did not believe that ‘mental illness’ played a role in the Youngblood’s decision to give her children sleeping pill gummies before shooting them dead in their beds.
In a twisted act of revenge, Veronica gunned down the girls as they slept in their McLean apartment after sedating them on August 5, 2018.
The couple’s eldest daughter managed to survive long enough to call 911 and tell a dispatcher she had been shot by her own mother.
Jurors heard a recording of that call during Youngblood’s two-week trial with jurors so disturbed by what they heard they asked whether they could receive trauma therapy because of how traumatic the call was.
As her teenage daughter lay dying, Veronica called Ron to say she hated him and that she had shot the children.
Youngblood killed her children in revenge for her ex-husband, Ron, left, plans to relocate with their youngest, Brooklynn, right. Veronica had married her husband in 2009
She told detectives that she planned to kill them and herself following a lengthy custody dispute.
At the time of her trial, Veronica was recorded telling investigators she was guilty and deserved the death penalty for killing her children.
Prosecutors said that she was manipulative and calculated.
In March of this year, Veronica was convicted on two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of felony firearm use.
She pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, with her lawyer claiming that the Argentinian native heard voices, but the defense was rejected.
Before she was sentenced on Friday, Youngblood spoke for more than 30 minutes about her daughters and the difficulties she had raising them.
She told the judge through a Spanish interpreter: ‘I’ve been a good mother, but something happened, I don’t know how to explain it. Something exploded in my mind.’
Ron Youngblood’s social media pages are full of photos of the children on whom he doted
He believes his children were killed by his ex-wife in order to inflict maximum pain on his life
During sentencing, the jury heard testimony that the killer mom grew up in poverty in Argentina, had been physically and sexually abused as a child by family members, turning to sex work to take care of her eldest daughter.
She met her now-former husband while he was stationed there in 2007. The two relocated to Virginia in 2015 but divorced a year later.
Defense lawyers had asked that the two murder sentences run concurrently instead of consecutively, which would have reduced the sentence from 78 years to 42 years.
Fairfax County Circuit Court Judge Randy Bellows said he saw no reason to reduce the jury’s recommendation of letting one sentence run after another.
Judge Bellows said at the sentencing: ‘Mothers and fathers have many responsibilities, but none is more grave than keeping their children safe. Tragically, their mother became the instrument of their death.’
Prosecutor Kelsey Gill said that the killings were intentional and that Youngblood bought the gun she used only nine days earlier.
Gill said in court: ‘There really aren’t words that can describe the depravity with which Ms. Youngblood planned and carried out the execution of her children.
Public defender Dawn Butorac said she expects Youngblood to appeal.
Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano, whose office prosecuted the case, said in a statement after the sentence hearing: ‘There is no outcome that can give these children back the lives that were taken from them, but today´s sentence is a measure of justice for their family.’
Ron said that he had faith that the judge would impose that maximum sentence but will continue to mourn his two girls.