Henrico mother guilty in hot iron abuse trial

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) – A Henrico mother is found guilty of disciplining her twin daughters with the painful heat of a hot iron.

Berneatha Terrell, 40, appeared to walk into court with some confidence Thursday afternoon. But she was later undone by the testimony of her identical twin daughters.

It was October of 2010. The 16 year old twins -described in testimony as compulsive liars- obtained cell phones, which were strictly forbidden by their mother.

As a result, Terrell "got mad" and "she went off" according to one of the girls. They said Terrell threw things in their eastern Henrico townhouse. Authorities say one of those things was a hot iron, and on two occasions the girls suffered noticeable burns on their bodies.

Terrell, however, denied harming her children with the iron and testified that her version of discipline was based in a mother's love.

Terrell testified that the girls were troubled and at risk of falling into juvenile detention. She testified that the girls would steal her credit cards to purchase the phones, which damaged her credit and put the girls at risk for further trouble.

"What mother wants their children to go to jail?" Terrell said in court.

But after five hours of testimony, it's only Terrell who faces jail time...after being convicted of two counts of malicious wounding with a hot iron.

Terrell could face up to twenty years behind bars on each charge. Sentencing will take place in late September. Until then, Terrell remains free on bond.

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