A Detroit, Michigan, teen who stabbed her disabled mother to death on Christmas Day was sentenced last week to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Per The Detroit News, Delilah Sherwood Evans, 18, will spend the rest of her life behind bars for the 2016 stabbing death of her mother, Sonia Riang, 45. Riang, who used a wheelchair, was found dead with 120 stab wounds in their Clinton Township apartment on Christmas Day.
According to WXYZ, Evans, then 17, fled the apartment and was found at a nearby 7-Eleven a short time later. Though reportedly undiagnosed at the time, relatives said the teen was dealing with mental illness.
The teen’s brothers reportedly said Evans had talked about having a dark angel, hearing voices, and about someone killing her mother on Christmas.
Psychologist Steven Miller testified at sentencing that Evans suffers from schizophrenia and bipolar mood disorder. Macomb Daily reports that Miller said Evans began exhibiting symptoms of mental illness when her mother became disabled in a car accident.
After the accident, Evans said she was cared for by her father, who had 16 other children. While Evans claimed she was subjected to physical and sexual abuse, Miller said she didn’t explain further, according to the newspaper.
Miller urged the court to allow Evans to stay at the Center for Forensic Psychiatry instead of prison as she was likely to make a full recovery with intensive treatment. According to Macomb Daily, the teen was recently moved from the mental health wing to general population.
Evans reportedly had heard voices and tried to commit suicide when she was first held at the county jail. Miller said Evans is taking medications and, while they’re helping, she occasionally hears voices and deals with paranoia.
A jury had previously rejected a not guilty by reason of insanity verdict. Instead, they chose to find Evans guilty but mentally ill of first-degree murder. As a result, the teen must serve her lifelong sentence in prison instead of at the center—where she could’ve been released if a panel deemed her mentally sound.
Describing her actions as “unfathomable,” Judge Richard Caretti said Evans’ planning and effort to conceal the murder shows maturity and the ability to discern right from wrong. According to WJBK, the judge claimed Evans showed no remorse and found that, even if she could be rehabilitated, there’s no indication that her mental state wouldn’t deteriorate over time.
“To plot and then execute a diabolical plan to brutally murder your own mother is unspeakable,” he said.
“I can’t imagine how you could plunge a knife 120 times into your mother who raised and nurtured you. Even considering your severe mental health issue, this senseless crime is mind-boggling.”
[Featured Image: Delilah Sherwood Evans/WJBK]