Sydney Powell struck her mother, Brenda Powell, in the head with an iron skillet, then stabbed her nearly 30 times in the neck in March 2020, prosecutors said
An Ohio woman who was convicted of brutally killing her own mother inside their home after she found she had been kicked out of college was sentenced to life in prison this week, authorities said.
Summit County Common Pleas Court Judge Kelly McLaughlin ruled Thursday that Sydney Powell, 23, of Akron, will be eligible for parole after serving 15 years of her life sentence for the murder of 50-year-old Brenda Powell, according to a press release from Summit County Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh.
On Sept. 20, Sydney was found guilty of two counts of murder as well as felony counts of assault and tampering with evidence, per the release.
“In March of 2020, Powell struck Brenda Powell in the head with an iron skillet, then stabbed her nearly 30 times in the neck,” the prosecutor said.
According to Fox News and NBC News, prosecutors said Sydney killed her mother inside their home because she learned she had been kicked out of college and didn't want her mother to find out. Sydney, who was 19 at the time, had reportedly been kicked out of the University of Mount Union in Alliance, Ohio, for poor grades and kept it a secret.
On March 3, 2020, Sydney brutally attacked Brenda while she was on the phone with school officials, who then called local police when they heard screaming on the other end of the line, according to prosecutors, the outlets report. She reportedly tried to stage the scene as a break-in.
After the violence, Brenda, who was a child life specialist at Akron Children’s Hospital for almost 30 years, died at the hospital from her injuries, per CourtTV.
Sydney was diagnosed with schizophrenia by three defense experts who evaluated her, according to the Akron Beacon Journal . They concluded that she did not comprehend the wrongness of her actions due to the mental disorder.
However, a clinical psychologist who testified on behalf of prosecutors during the trial contradicted the defense’s claim that Sydney suffered from the illness.
“The best source of information for an insanity evaluation is what was said and felt at the time of the incident,” Dr. Silvia O’Bradovich said, per Court TV. “It just didn’t add up to Schizophrenia.”
Assistant Prosecutor Brian Stano added in court that Sydney's actions were “purposeful,” noting how after she attacked her mother with the iron skillet, she grabbed a steak knife from the kitchen to continue the deed, according to Court TV.
Sydney’s attorney, Donald Malarcik, disagreed with the severity of his client’s sentence, noting in court Thursday that Sydney’s family, who testified on her behalf, asked for leniency, Fox News reports.
"The wishes of the victim are trampled upon yet again, I find [it] appalling," he said, per Fox News.
Malarcik also read a letter from an Akron Children's Hospital doctor in court, which explained how if Sydney’s mother were still alive, she “would without a doubt want the unwavering support of Sydney’s continued treatment for her mental condition in the least restrictive environment possible with as much family connection and contact as is possible,” according to local station WKYC.
"To the victim, to the family and the friends, I am terribly sorry for your loss here," Judge McLaughlin said at the sentencing hearing, per NBC News. "I cannot imagine what you have been through."
According to NBC News and Fox News, Sydney, who was in tears, only spoke once during the sentencing hearing, softly replying “Yes,” when the judge asked if she would need the court to appoint an attorney to represent her in an appeal.
"To the victim, to the family and the friends, I am terribly sorry for your loss here," Judge McLaughlin said in court, per NBC News. "I cannot imagine what you have been through."
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