According to a New York Post report on Monday, September 25, 2023, an Ohio woman was recently convicted of brutally murdering her mother after it was discovered she had been expelled from college.
23-year-old Sydney Powell of Akron was found guilty of murder, assault, and tampering with evidence for the March 2020 attack on her mother, 50-year-old Brenda Powell.
According to prosecutors, Sydney bludgeoned her mother in the head with an iron skillet and then stabbed her nearly 30 times in the neck while Brenda was on the phone with Sydney’s former colleague.
Sydney had previously attended Mount Union University but was expelled for unknown reasons.
Brenda, who worked as a child life specialist at Akron Children’s Hospital, had just learned of her daughter’s expulsion before the fatal attack.
During the trial, the defense argued that Sydney was legally insane due to schizophrenia at the time of the murder.
Three experts testified that Sydney had experienced a psychotic break and could not be held accountable for killing her mother, whom she had considered her best friend.
However, a psychologist hired by the prosecution disagreed with the schizophrenia diagnosis.
While acknowledging Sydney’s mental health issues, including borderline personality traits and anxiety, the prosecution’s expert said Sydney did not meet the legal definition of insanity.
Prosecutors emphasized that Sydney had deliberately switched weapons during the prolonged attack, first using a skillet and then getting a knife from the kitchen.
The brutal nature of the assault, which included nearly 30 stab wounds concentrated on the neck, indicated purposeful intention to end Brenda’s life.
The motive was allegedly to prevent Brenda from revealing to others that Sydney had been expelled from college.
Sydney broke down in tears when the guilty verdict was announced in Summit County Common Pleas Court.
Her father, Steven Powell, had urged prosecutors to reach a plea deal and avoid a trial.
But the prosecution pushed for the jury trial, arguing that the horrific facts of the case deserved a jury decision.
The possibility of an insanity defense was not enough to deter them.
Sydney now faces up to life in prison with parole eligibility after 15 years. Additional time may be added for the evidence tampering conviction.
Her sentencing hearing is scheduled for later this month.
The murder of her well-regarded mother, apparently motivated by shame and secrecy, has left the Akron community shocked and grieving.
Brenda Powell’s colleagues at the children’s hospital are mourning the loss of a dedicated caretaker.
Yet the brutal actions of her own daughter have also traumatized the family and challenged conceptions of Sydney’s mental state.