Santa Cruz County

Jury finds Veva Virgil was "legally insane" when she smothered her daughter

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. - Jurors have determined an Aptos woman who smothered her daughter was legally insane at the time.

Veva Virgil, 42, was found guilty of murder last month for the death of her 3 1/2 -year-old daughter in November 2008.

Virgil's attorneys argued their client was legally insane at the time and that she believed she was saving her daughter from the evil in the world. Her attorneys said she has a history of mental illness and was in the throes of a psychotic episode.

Virgil could have faced up to 25 years to life in prison. With the finding that she was legally insane, she will now be sent to a state mental hospital for treatment.

Motel employees found the body of Isabella Grace Martinez inside a room at the Motel 6 on Silverleaf Drive on Nov. 15, 2008. Virgil was arrested the next day at Good Samaritan Hospital in San Jose, where she'd been placed on an involuntary psychiatric hold.

Witnesses testified at trial that Virgil told hospital staff she had killed her daughter to protect her from the world.

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