Mom could face death penalty for allegedly forcing her children to drink bleach and blaming ‘voodoo spell’

Francis Akhalbey April 25, 2024
Joanne Zephir could face a death penalty -- Photo Credit: Osceola County Corrections

Authorities in Florida announced their intention to seek the death penalty for a woman who allegedly forced her two children to drink bleach before killing one of her minors, which was her 3-year-old daughter.

According to WTSP, Osceola County deputies arrested Joanne Zephir on May 8, 2022, after she allegedly stabbed her husband and made her two children drink bleach. She then fatally strangled her 3-year-old daughter. The other minor who consumed the bleach was aged 8 at the time. The minor survived alongside Zephir’s husband.

In the wake of the incident, Osceola County Sheriff Marcos R. Lopez said Zephir admitted to the crime and claimed a “voodoo spell” made her harm her children

The Ninth Judicial Circuit State Attorney’s Office in a statement on Tuesday said that Zephir became “eligible for the death penalty after an Osceola County grand jury indicted the defendant on First Degree Murder with a Weapon in February, which is a capital felony.” Zephir was additionally indicted on Attempted First Degree Murder with a Weapon and Attempted Felony Murder with a Weapon.

“In their notice, prosecutors said the decision to seek the death penalty is based on statutory aggravators including the victim being younger than 12 years old, the victim of the capital felony being particularly vulnerable because the defendant stood in a position of familial or custodial authority over the victim and the capital felony being committed while the defendant was engaged in the commission of, or an attempt to commit, aggravated child abuse,” the statement explained.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: April 25, 2024


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