Depending on whom you ask, Sherri Love is either a loving mother or a cold-blooded killer.
Relatives said during her murder trial that she was a parent so caring that she wouldn’t let her young children make their own sandwiches.
Prosecutors told jurors she once threatened to kill her kids to get back at a former lover.
The 47-year-old mother never physically abused her two youngest children, Arabella Moreno and Brian Moreno, relatives said. But on Feb. 3, 2007, Love took a knife and fatally stabbed and cut 7-year-old Arabella more than 20 times, authorities said. She then sliced 8-year-old Brian with the same knife.
On Thursday, a jury took less than an hour to convict Love of first-degree murder with a deadly weapon for killing Arabella and attempted murder with a deadly weapon for cutting Brian. The jury also found her guilty of child abuse or neglect.
“Sherri is obviously just devastated,” said Love’s mother, Marjorie Bull, who criticized the jury for taking only about 45 minutes to reach a decision.
Bull said Thursday afternoon that she still hadn’t told Brian about the verdict. Love’s 15-year-old son, Michael Corbo, did know about the verdict and was heartbroken, she said.
Love’s defense attorneys asked the jury to find her not guilty by reason of insanity. They said Love’s treatment at a hospital for alcohol addiction had exacerbated her bipolar condition and contributed to her attacking her children.
“There’s really nothing that can happen to her that’s worse than what she’s been through,” said Deputy Public Defender Andrea Luem.
District Judge Stewart Bell is scheduled to sentence Love on Aug. 14.
Love has a history of mental illness dating back more than a decade. A psychologist testified that Love grew up in an abusive household and suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder because of the abuse. She began drinking at an early age and also abused prescription drugs.
Love attempted suicide several times and was diagnosed as bipolar, the psychologist said.
Prosecutors said Love may have had mental health issues but wasn’t delusional when she killed her daughter and attacked her son at the family’s house near Jones Boulevard and Wigwam Avenue.
“There is simply not a shred of evidence showing that Sherri Love was legally insane,” prosecutor Marc DiGiacomo said after the jury reached its verdict. “They (the jury) couldn’t have come back with anything but ‘guilty.’ “
On the day of the slaying, Love fought with Corbo at the family home. Las Vegas police went to the house but didn’t arrest Love or remove her children from her custody. An officer testified that police didn’t find enough evidence of domestic violence to arrest Love, who had legal custody of her children.
Bull, a former civilian employee of the Las Vegas police, said she is planning on suing the department.
After the police left, Love got into an argument with her neighbors because they wouldn’t let Arabella and Brian take part in a baby shower.
Soon after the argument, Love killed Arabella and attacked Brian, authorities said. After the slaying, Love tried to overdose on pills.
Julie Weaver, Arabella and Brian’s aunt, attended several days of the trial. She said after the trial that she was glad it was over.
“There’s no good outcome,” Weaver said. “It’s ugly.”
Contact reporter David Kihara at email@example.com or 702-380-1039.