KYLE, Texas — A Texas mother who stabbed and then decapitated her 5-year-old daughter has been sentenced to life in prison without parole.
Yesterday, March 6, 2020, following a two-week trial, a Hays County jury found 27-year-old Krystle Concepcion Villanueva guilty of capital murder of a child under 10 in the stabbing death of her daughter and guilty of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon for stabbing her father-in-law. She was sentenced by 428th Judicial District Court Judge Bill Henry to life in prison without parole on the capital murder charge and 20 years on the aggravated assault charge.
On January 5, 2017, Villanueva called police and said she killed her daughter because "she asked for cereal," and that she also stabbed her father-in-law. SWAT officers responding to the call found Villanueva nude in the front room of the home, apparently freshly showered.
Following her arrest, Villanueva was taken by Hays County Sheriff's deputies to a hospital where blood testing revealed the presence of alcohol and marijuana in her system, according to the Hays County District Attorney's Office, which issued a statement following yesterday's verdict.
During the trial, Villanueva's defense team conceded she had killed her daughter and stabbed her father-in-law — claiming, at the time of the attacks, she had been under the delusional belief her daughter and father-in-law had been replaced by clones and had to be killed to bring back her family. In doing so, they urged the jury to find her not guilty by reason of insanity.
"While evidence indicated that Ms. Villanueva had been treated previously for mental problems, the prosecution pointed out that all such treatment coincided with prior drug abuse, and that the symptoms described by Ms. Villanueva at trial had never been observed in her prior to or after her arrest," read the statement from the Hays County District Attorney's Office. "The defendant’s psychiatric expert also conceded on cross-examination that marijuana use can exacerbate existing mental conditions and interfere with treatment."
"The jury returned a verdict of guilty on both counts this afternoon, rejecting the insanity defense," continued the statement.
“A case like this leaves an unforgettable mark on everyone involved, especially the child’s family.” stated Hays County District Attorney Wes Mau, who led the prosecution with assistance from Assistant Criminal District Attorney Michael McCarthy. “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.”