Per People, a 27-year-old woman was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole after she was found guilty of capital murder, according to an article in the Austin American-Statesman.
Krystle Villanueva was arrested on Jan. 5, 2017, after Hays County deputies were called to her home at Kyle, Texas, and discovered she had stabbed and mutilated her 5-year-old daughter, officials told the paper.
“I’ve been in this line of work for over 43 years — 11 years as a homicide detective,” Hays County Sheriff Gary Cutler told the newspaper at the time. “This is one of the worst cases I’ve ever seen and been a part of.”
The child’s grandfather Eustorgio Arellano called 911 and told officials Villanueva attacked him from behind without warning, stabbing him in the back and head, according to a statement released by the Hays County District Attorney’s office.
He fled the home, but told deputies she was inside with her daughter. SWAT teams and negotiators were called for a potential hostage situation.
Villanueva called 911 from inside her home and told police she had killed her daughter because “she asked for cereal,” the release stated.
MySA reports a Hays County woman was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility for parole for the grisly murder of her 5-year-old daughter in 2017.
Krystle Villanueva, 27, was found guilty Wednesday after a two-week trial of capital murder of a child under 10 and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
According to previous reports, police were called to Villanueva’s Kyle residence near the 200 block of Willow Terrace on Jan. 5, 2017 after she attacked her father-in-law Eustorgio Arellano, who called the police saying Villanueva attacked him without warning, stabbing him in the back and head before he was able to run from the home.
SWAT was called after authorities learned that Villanueva’s 5-year-old daughter, Giovanna Larae Hernandez, was still in the house with her. From inside the house, Villanueva called 911 and said she had killed Hernandez because she “asked for cereal,” the Hays County District Attorney’s Office said in a news release.
When SWAT officers broke into the home, they found Villanueva standing in the front room completely naked, freshly showered, the release said. She was later found to have alcohol and marijuana in her system.
In a bedroom, authorities found Hernandez stabbed to death with her head decapitated.
At the trial, Villanueva’s defense team tried to convince the jury of an insanity plea, arguing that at the time of the attacks, Villanueva had believed that her daughter and father-in-law had been replaced by clones and had to be killed to bring back her real family.
While Villanueva had been previously treated for mental health problems, the prosecution argued that her treatment had coincided with prior drug abuse—which medical experts testified can exacerbate existing mental conditions— and she hadn’t exhibited that behavior before the incident or since.
“A case like this leaves an unforgettable mark on everyone involved, especially the child’s family,” said Hays County District Attorney Wes Mau. “Every law enforcement member who worked on this case will forever be traumatized by what Ms. Villanueva did to her innocent daughter. I commend all the investigators and officers who endured this horror with calm professionalism so that justice could be done.”
The jury rejected the insanity plea and Judicial District Judge Bill Henry sentenced Villanueva to life in prison plus 20 years for the attack on Arellano.