Former Mount Union student convicted of stabbing her mom to death


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A Summit County jury found Sydney Powell, a former student of Mount Union University, guilty of murdering her mother, Brenda Powell, in their Akron home in March 2020. The courtroom was filled with tension as the jury delivered its decision after a lengthy trial marked by contrasting expert opinions on Powell’s mental state during the horrific incident.

Prosecutors asserted that Sydney Powell, now 23 years old, brutally attacked her mother, stabbing her with a steak knife and repeatedly striking her with a cast-iron skillet. The prosecution argued that Powell acted with purpose and deliberation, a claim supported by the jury’s decision to convict her on two counts of murder. One of these counts indicated that she caused her mother’s death intentionally, while the other cited causing death as the result of a felonious assault. Additionally, Powell was found guilty of felonious assault and tampering with evidence.

The emotional weight of the verdict was palpable in the courtroom as Powell, who once attended Mount Union University, openly sobbed upon hearing the jury’s decision. Her sentencing is scheduled for September 28, and she faces the possibility of a maximum life sentence with parole eligibility after 15 years, in addition to further time for the evidence tampering conviction.

The trial spanned over three weeks, with two distinct phases. In the first phase, prosecutors presented compelling evidence relating to Brenda Powell’s brutal death. In the second phase, experts provided testimony regarding Sydney’s mental state at the time of the crime, a point of contention that divided the courtroom.

James Reardon, an expert witness for the defense, testified that Sydney Powell had suffered a psychotic break when she killed her mother. Reardon was one of three defense experts who evaluated Sydney and diagnosed her with schizophrenia. They collectively argued that her mental disorder prevented her from comprehending the wrongfulness of her actions during the tragic event.

However, the prosecution’s expert witness, psychologist Sylvia O’Bradovich from Summit Psychological Associates, vehemently disagreed with the defense’s assessment. O’Bradovich contended that Sydney Powell did not meet the legal definition of insanity at the time of the crime. Instead, O’Bradovich cited mental health issues, including borderline personality traits, malingering, and an unspecified anxiety disorder.

The trial’s conclusion, marked by an emotionally charged courtroom, now leaves Sydney Powell facing an uncertain future as she awaits sentencing later this month on Sept.