A 35-year-old woman with a documented history of mental illness has received a nearly 11-year term for killing her mother with a squeeze until she collapsed in the family's Scott County home.
Cassandra A. DuSold, of New Market Township, was sentenced Monday in Scott County District Court after a judge first found her guilty of second-degree murder and then criminally liable in connection with attacking Dorothy I. DuSold, 69, on Jan. 19, 2022, at the house in the 9600 block of Livery Lane. She died three days later at a Burnsville hospital.
With credit for time in jail since her arrest, Cassandra DuSold is expected to serve roughly 5 1⁄3 years in prison and the balance of her 10 3⁄4-year term on supervised release.
In what is called a bifurcated trial, Judge Mark Vandelist first found Cassandra DuSold guilty on Aug. 11 and then reviewed reports from three doctors who agreed that she has paranoia, anxiety and schizophrenia among other disorders.
Vandelist ruled on Sept. 15 that despite her psychological difficulties, Cassandra DuSold was criminally liable for her mother's death.
"The evidence presented shows that [she] knew the nature of her acts and the acts were wrong in a legal sense," the judge wrote.
In addition, Vandelist continued, "Both the fact that [she] lied about what happened and the fact that she was able to do so convincingly support a finding that she knew the moral wrongfulness of her conduct."
According to the complaint:
Fire Department personnel arrived to the home and gave aid to Dorothy DuSold, who was on the floor in the master bedroom.
Cassandra DuSold at first told a sheriff's deputy that she was in the kitchen and heard a thud. The daughter said she went into the bedroom and saw her mother face-down on the floor. She said she called 911 and started cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
Medical personnel who tended to Dorothy DuSold said she had "significant bruising" around her eyes, injuries elsewhere on her face, bleeding, scratches and bruising.
Cassandra DuSold soon changed her story while speaking with detectives and said the attack came after her mother "met her with claws" and scratched her on one arm, the complaint read.
The daughter said she put her mother in a chokehold, saw that she was bleeding and called 911. Cassandra DuSold said she "squeezed like a python so hard" before they both fell to the floor, the complaint read.