A young woman who was convicted of killing a teenage mother and her 5-week-old daughter in a jealous rage in Frederick County more than two years ago was sentenced yesterday to life in prison without parole.
Frederick County Circuit Court Judge John H. Tisdale imposed two concurrent life sentences on Sonya Marie Daniels, 28, for killing Deanne Prichard, 16, and Prichard's daughter, Makayla Frost, on Oct. 19, 2002, in Walkersville.
Sonya Marie Daniels was convicted of killing Deanne Prichard, 16, and Prichard's 5-week-old daughter, Makayla Frost, in Frederick County.
(Sketch William J. Hennessy Jr. For The Washington Post)
Prosecutors said Daniels, of Martinsburg, W.Va., plotted the killings after becoming enraged over an affair between Prichard and the baby's father, a convicted drug dealer.
Daniels, a single mother who worked as a claims adjuster, suggested that the drug-dealing associates of Makayla's father were behind the killings. She declined to address the court yesterday.
Prichard's mother, Patricia Ann Collins, told the judge yesterday that she feels sorrow over the loss of things she will never know, such as celebrating her granddaughter's first tooth or watching her learn to crawl.
Daniels kept her expressionless face forward, not glancing at Collins.
"All I am asking is that she gets what she deserves," Collins said.
J. Charles Smith III, a deputy state's attorney, had requested consecutive life sentences without parole.
"The premeditated killing of a 5-week-old infant deserves it. The slaying of her 16-year-old mother -- who was a child herself -- also deserves it," Smith said. "But most of all, Sonya Daniels -- who is an evil, coldblooded, remorseless killer -- deserves it."
Katy C. O'Donnell, chief attorney in the Maryland public defender's capital defense division, asked the judge to show mercy by imposing a sentence that would allow Daniels to hope for freedom. She said Daniels suffered from an "absolutely horrific childhood," shaped by a mother who suffered from paranoid schizophrenia and an alcoholic father. Neglect, sexual abuse, poverty and turmoil drove Daniels deep inside herself, O'Donnell said.
"By age 4, she's already being referred to as being zombie-like," O'Donnell said.
The Frederick County state's attorney's office initially sought the death penalty for Daniels, and the case was moved to Montgomery County because of widespread publicity. After the first trial ended in a hung jury, prosecutors dropped the death penalty.
Partway through a second trial, in November, Daniels's brother led investigators to the .45-caliber handgun she used in the crime. At that point, Daniels did not plead guilty, but in an unusual procedure, she did agree to a statement of facts. Tisdale then convicted her of two counts of first-degree murder.