A Long Island woman who smothered her two daughters to death in 2019 was sentenced Monday to 20 years to life in prison.
Tenia Campbell, now 28, pleaded guilty in December to killing her 2-year-old twin daughters, Jasmine and Jaida Campbell.
“These two young lives were cut short by the one person who was supposed to love and protect them,” Suffolk County District Attorney Raymond Tierney said in a statement. “Although the 20-year sentence here resolves this sad case, it will not bring back these girls.”
The sentence had been anticipated as part of Campbell’s plea deal.
Jasmine and Jaida were found dead in their mother’s vehicle at the entrance to Montauk County Park Third House Nature Center on June 27, 2019. The park near the eastern tip of Long Island is about 60 miles east of where the family lived in a Medford apartment.
At around 2:30 p.m. that day, Campbell’s mother, Vanessa McQueen, called 911. She told operators that Campbell was driving around with the twin girls and threatening to kill herself and them.
“All Tenia would say was that it’s too late, I killed my babies and now I have to be with them,” McQueen told police. “At one point she said she was going to find the ocean and walk into it and drown so she could be with her babies in heaven.”
When officers caught up with Campbell, she begged them to shoot and kill her, according to authorities. However, she was safely taken into custody, and the young girls were rushed to a nearby hospital, where they were pronounced dead.
Neighbors and acquaintances were shocked by the crime, but McQueen told police that Campbell had “a very long history of mental disorders.” She said her daughter had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and also battled depression and anxiety.
Additionally, Campbell was facing eviction from her apartment. An eviction hearing had been scheduled for July 10, 2019.