A California woman was found guilty of first-degree murder in the brutal stabbing deaths of her three young daughters, in what prosecutors are describing as a failed plot to "take out her family," including her husband and possibly even herself.
Compton Superior Court Judge Richard Ocampo issued the guilty verdict to 32-year old Carol Ann Coronado in the May 20, 2014, killings of her daughters – Sophia, 2, Yazmine, 16 months and Xenia, 2 months. She was found not guilty of attempting to murder her mother, Julie Piercey, who managed to disarm Coronado of the "big butcher knife" she used in the killings.
The day of their death, one of the children had an accident in the bathroom and smeared feces all over the room.
"It was this potty accident that pushed [Coronado] over the edge," said Deputy District Attorney Emily Spear, according to the Daily Breeze.
Coronado called her mother for help, but Piercy was at work and unable to come over until later in the afternoon. When Piercy eventually arrived, she saw her daughter's husband, Rudy, across the street, working on a truck.
After going inside, Piercy found her daughter standing over the children, who were dead on the couple's bed. She ran to get Rudy, and when the two returned, Carol Coronado attempted to take her own life by plunging a knife into chest. She didn't kill herself, but she did manage to puncture her lung.
In their arguing that the murders were premeditated, the prosecution pointed out that Coronado had laid out three knives, purportedly one for the children, one for her husband and one for herself.
"She intended to take out her entire family," Spear said. "She arranged the knives in an overall plot to take out Rudy."
Spear also argued that Coronado felt trapped in her life, as her husband wanted a divorce, and she felt she could not take care of the children without any help from him.
"She has a clear motive," Spear said. "She hurt [Rudy] the only way she can. She takes out his children."
The sanity phase of the trial is set to begin this week to determine whether Coronado is guilty by reason of insanity – which would send her to a mental health institution with a chance to someday be released – or if she will face life in prison without parole.
Coronado"s attorney, Stephen Allen, plans to have three or four doctors testify in an effort to show Coronado suffered from postpartum psychosis when she stabbed the children.