The murder trial of a 23-year-old Ohioan who allegedly killed her mother by stabbing her more than 30 times has begun despite her father’s pleas to the judge.
Sydney Powell, whose trial began on September 7 and who has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, has gone into this trial with her family by her side – particularly her father.
Her supportive father Steve Powell and her family have said they believe Sydney was in a state of psychosis when an argument allegedly led to her late mother Brenda Powell being attacked and stabbed.
According to Akron police, Sydney has been charged with murder, aggravated assault and tampering with evidence after stabbing her mother to death at their home in Akron, Ohio on March 3, 2020. Her mother later died from her injuries at a nearby hospital.
Her defense attorney claims she was suffering from undiagnosed schizophrenia at the time of the stabbing and was suffering a psychotic breakdown.
According to the Akron Beach JournalSydney appeared to cry in a Summit County courtroom this week as her father pleaded with prosecutors not to pursue murder charges against his daughter.
During the preliminary hearing, Steve said, “I don’t know why we’re doing this.”
“That’s not what anyone here wants. I don’t know how she can handle it.”
“I don’t know how to deal with this. I’m trying to keep my family together.”
Sydney’s maternal grandmother, Betsy Brown, also made the same plea, saying, “All of this is opening up things we wanted to put behind us.”
Since Sydney was released on $25,000 bail in April 2020, she has been living with her grandmother Betsy and grandfather.
Despite her family’s pleas, jury selection began Wednesday and opening statements and testimony began Thursday.
An emailed statement from prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh reportedly said, “We have our deepest sympathy for Brenda Powell’s surviving family members.”
“It is unimaginable and tragic to lose a loved one to violence under any circumstances, let alone when the violence is caused by another family member.”
“In the interest of justice and the community, we believe the case can best be resolved by presenting all the facts to a fair and impartial jury and allowing them to decide the outcome.”
After prosecutors refused to reduce or change Sydney’s charges or agree to her being found not guilty by reason of insanity
Jeff Laybourne, the lawyer for Sydney’s family, said her family was unhappy with the court’s decision.
After deciding to move on, Steve said: “This goes against everything Brenda would want.”
Regarding Sydney, Steve continued, “As parents, it’s our job to protect her.”
“The goal is to make them better – not to take a step back to prove something.”
Summit County prosecutors’ opening arguments Thursday said Sydney killed her mother by stabbing her with a steak knife and hitting her with a cast-iron skillet. They also said she broke a window to make it look like someone had broken in.
Summit County Assistant Prosecutor Joe McAleese said, according to the report Akron Beacon Journal: “Sydney Powell took her mother’s life and she knew her actions were wrong.”
However, Sydney’s lawyer Don Malarcik told the court how three psychologists concluded that Sydney had suffered a psychotic break and schizophrenia on the day her mother was attacked.
“The science is overwhelming and supports insanity,” Malarcik said, hoping the jury will find Sydney not guilty by reason of insanity.
Accordingly CourtTVSydney is a former high school student who struggled with her academic performance when she entered college.
She was eventually dismissed from the University of Mount Union for failure – something she kept secret from her mother.
Months after leaving school, Sydney was returning home when her mother confronted her about school, which likely led to an argument with a lot of “yelling and screaming,” a dispatcher said CourtTV.
Brenda was allegedly on the phone with school administrators during the attack.
As for what Sydney remembers about returning home, her attorney Don Malarcik said she was hallucinating in her parents’ house and went into their basement to get rid of the voices in her head.
He added: “The next thing she remembers is waking up in hospital.”
For those close to Brenda and Sydney, the stabbing came as a shock as they were considered very close, best friends.
Since her mother’s tragic death, Sydney has been seeing a doctor, a counselor and taking medication.
Malarcik said, “She would be a zombie if she took these medications without mental health issues.”
“It’s not fake. We ask you to trust the science. Every professional who saw Sydney Powell had the same diagnosis – schizophrenia. Mental illness is a real thing.”
He continued: “This family has suffered a nightmare with unimaginable consequences. I ask you to put an end to the nightmare and return the verdicts of not guilty by reason of insanity.”
Sydney is accused of, among other things, two murders.
Her trial is scheduled to last until September 18th.