Ohio Woman, 23, Sentenced to 15 Years to Life in Prison For Stabbing Mom Over College Suspension

Sydney Powell, a former University of Mount Union student, has been sentenced to 15 years to life in prison for the 2020 fatal stabbing of her mom Brenda Powell over her college suspension.

By Kisha Forde Oct 20, 2023 2:02 PMTags
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Sydney Powell will spend no less than 15 years in prison for the murder of her mom Brenda Powell.

One week after a jury found the 23-year-old guilty of murder, assault and tampering with evidence, Sydney was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison for the 2020 stabbing death, NBC News has confirmed.

In March of that year, Sydney—who had been a student at the University of Mount Union—was suspended from the Ohio school for poor grades, according to prosecutors via NBC News, and flew into a rage when her mom found out. On March 3, Sydney, then 19, hit Brenda, 50, with an iron skillet before stabbing her nearly 30 times in the neck.

Prosecutors stated Brenda was, in fact, on the phone with school officials when the ambush unfolded and that they, in turn, called authorities after they heard screams from the other end of the call.

"The phone cut off at some point after, I would say, somewhere in the neighborhood of six or seven of those thudding, those sort of thud sounds," Associate Dean of Students Michelle Gaffney previously testified, per the outlet, "and the screaming had continued."

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After the abrupt disconnect, concerned school administrators called the home repeatedly to get back in touch with Brenda, according to NBC News, before someone answered that claimed to be her.

"The voice on the other ends said, 'Yes, this is Brenda. Yes, this is Brenda,'" Gaffney stated during testimony. "It was not Brenda. I was sure it was Sydney. Both Dean [of Students John] Frazier and I looked at each other and sort of shook our heads at each other and said that's not Brenda. He then said, 'Sydney, I think this is you, this is not Brenda.' The phone went dead."


During her sentencing, Sydney's attorney read a letter he said he received from a doctor at Akron Children's Hospital, where Brenda worked for nearly 30 years.

"I have almost never felt so strongly that I need to offer a voice of advocacy as I have in this tragic situation of an unfathomable verdict and the tragic current of ripple effects it will undoubtedly have upon this loving family," her lawyer read aloud in the courtroom, according to local outlet WKYC. "I have repeatedly heard from those who know Brenda well. Their intimate knowledge of Brenda, her family, her husband and Sydney, that they have endured incredible loss as a result of Sydney's actions on that horrible day."

E! News has reached out to Sydney's attorney for comment and has not heard back.

Under the term imposed by Judge Kelly McLaughlin, the former college student will be eligible for parole after serving at least 15 years of her sentence.

(E! and NBC News are part of the NBCUniversal family.)

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