The Sorority Girl that allegedly brutally ended her mother’s life.

True Crime Lounge
6 min readSep 14


Sydney Powell Akron Ohio


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In a shocking turn of events, a family dispute in Akron, Ohio took a tragic and fatal turn. Brenda Powell, a 50-year-old mother, was found dead, and her 19-year-old daughter, Sydney Powell, was arrested and charged with her murder. The incident, which occurred on March 3, 2020, has left the community in disbelief and raised questions about the circumstances surrounding Brenda’s untimely demise.

The Accused: Sydney Powell

Sydney Powell, a resident of Akron, Ohio, is at the center of this tragic case. The 19-year-old has been accused of killing her own mother, Brenda Powell. Sydney was arrested on April 6, 2020, and charged with murder, felonious assault, and tampering with evidence. However, Sydney’s defense has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, claiming that she was not mentally stable at the time of the incident.

The Events Leading to the Tragedy

Sydney allegedly was dismissed from Mount Union University in December 2019 after previously being placed on academic probation. However, Sydney allegedly was leading her family and others to believe she was still enrolled at the university.

In one exchange dated February 25, 2020, Brenda texted Sydney asking if she had any “afternoon classes,” as she had received a notification from GPS tracking app Life 360 that Sydney, her daughter was home.

Sydney allegedly responded that she did not in fact have any afternoon classes that week as her teacher and her spouse, “took this week as their vacation time, so they just gave us a worksheet and some work online to do while she’s gone.”

In another exchange on the same day, Brenda asked her daughter, “Why do I always feel like you are scamming me? Just remember that you need the grades to keep your scholarships.”

Sydney graduate from St. Vincent-St. Mary High School in 2018 were she was an honor roll student, however, she struggled with her academics upon entering college.

Sydney allegedly responded to her mother’s text, “Yes, I know. My grades are good. Thank you very much.”

It was just a week later on March 3, when police were alerted to an incident at the Powell home, Mount Union University reportedly received a phone call from Brenda to discuss her daughter’s standing in school.

In the previous months, Sydney had been lying to her family and others about still being enrolled at Mount Union University. She had been seen still living in her dorm room even after being notified of her suspension from the university for her poor academic performance.

She ended up losing her academic scholarships, and as a result, she was also unable to attend the sorority she loved.

Sydney was confronted on several occasions from the school administration about her still taking up residence on the university campus after her suspension. She was offered any assistance in vacating the room or help notifying her family of her school dismissal.

On each occasion that Sydney was confronted, she allegedly lead the school stuff member to believe she had informed her family. Sydney could no longer go on ignoring the reality of the situation and moved out of the residence hall on campus. Leading to that fatal day of March 3.

Akron police officers arrived at the Powell residence to find Brenda Powell gravely injured and Sydney in a state of distress. Sydney claimed that an intruder had broken into their home and attacked her mother, urging her to escape.

However, it was during the course of the investigation that the police determined Sydney’s involvement in her mother’s assault, leading Brenda to her untimely demise.

The Prosecution’s Case

According to the prosecutors, Sydney Powell’s account of a break-in was a concocted fabrication to conceal her own guilt. They allege that Sydney stabbed her mother multiple times with a steak knife and bludgeoned her with a cast-iron frying pan before staging the crime scene to make it appear as if an intruder was responsible. Bodycam footage captured Sydney’s disheveled appearance and her attempt to mislead the responding officers. The prosecution argues that Sydney’s repeated lies before and after the murder, as well as her efforts to cover up her actions, demonstrate her awareness of the wrongfulness of her deeds.

The Defense’s Argument: Insanity

In contrast, Sydney Powell’s defense attorney, Don Malarcik, presents a starkly different narrative. He contends that Sydney was in the midst of a severe psychotic break at the time of the murder, rendering her incapable of understanding the nature and consequences of her actions. Malarcik reveals that three psychologists who evaluated Sydney diagnosed her with schizophrenia and testified to her lack of mental competence during the incident. He emphasizes that Sydney’s deteriorating mental state, characterized by hallucinations and delusions, made her unable to distinguish reality from her distorted perception. The defense maintains that Sydney should be found not guilty by reason of insanity.

The Emotional Testimony of Sydney’s Father

During the trial, Steven Powell, Sydney’s father and Brenda’s husband, took the witness stand to share his heart-wrenching account of the events leading up to his wife’s murder. He described Sydney as a loving daughter and revealed that the family had been unaware of her struggles at the University of Mount Union. Steven recounted the moment he discovered Sydney’s academic suspension and his subsequent conversation with Brenda, who rushed home to address the crisis while he went to work. His testimony painted a picture of a close-knit family shattered by an unimaginable tragedy.

Friends and Coworkers in Shock

As the trial unfolded, friends and coworkers of Sydney and Brenda Powell provided further testimony, expressing their disbelief at Sydney’s involvement in her mother’s death. They highlighted the close bond between Sydney and Brenda, portraying them as best friends who shared a deep connection. This testimony underscored the devastating impact the incident had on the community and the widespread shock and sorrow it they felt.

The Verdict: Guilty, Not Guilty, or Insane

The jury in Sydney Powell’s trial is faced with a weighty decision: to render a verdict of guilty, not guilty, or not guilty by reason of insanity. The outcome hinges on their assessment of Sydney’s mental state at the time of the murder and her capacity to understand the morality and consequences of her actions. While the prosecution argues that Sydney was fully aware of her wrongdoing, the defense contends that her severe mental illness absolves her of legal responsibility. Ultimately, the jury’s verdict will determine the path forward for Sydney and the Powell family.

The Impact on the Powell Family

Throughout the trial, Sydney Powell has exhibited deep emotional distress, often bursting into tears and struggling to maintain composure. Her father, Steven Powell, and maternal grandmother, Betsy Brown, have implored prosecutors to reach a resolution that would spare Sydney from the ordeal of a trial. They express concern for her mental well-being, asserting that she has shown improvement under the care of medical professionals and medication. However, their pleas for a plea deal or a finding of not guilty by reason of insanity have been met with resistance from the prosecution.


The trial of Sydney Powell for the murder of her mother, Brenda Powell, has gripped the nation, shining a spotlight on the tragic consequences of untreated mental illness and the complexities of the legal defense of insanity. As the trial unfolds, the jury faces the arduous task of determining Sydney’s mental state at the time of the murder and the degree of her culpability.



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