'Voodoo' mom faces death penalty in Florida on charges of stabbing, killing 3-year-old daughter, forcing children to drink bleach

Joanne Zephir, 38, has been charged with first-degree murder with a weapon, attempted first-degree murder with a weapon, and attempted felony murder with a weapon.

Katie Daviscourt Seattle WA

Florida prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for a mother who had her young daughters drink bleach before strangling one of them to death. She is also accused of fatally stabbing her husband. 

Joanne Zephir, 38, was indicted by a grand jury on charges of first-degree murder with a weapon, attempted first-degree murder with a weapon, and attempted felony murder with a weapon. The first-degree murder charge is a capital felony offense that gives prosecutors the option to seek the death penalty. 

The state attorney general wrote the details in a Facebook post.  

Zephir is accused of making her two daughters, aged 3 and 8, drink bleach before strangling them. The eight-year-old survived the attack, but the three-year-old daughter died. Hours before the incident, she allegedly stabbed her husband who also survived, WTSP reported.  

The mother was found unconscious along with her two children in a car near a church in Poinciana County on Mother's Day 2022. 

Court documents state that Zephir told police she was under the influence of a "voodoo" spell that led her to harm her children. 

According to WFTV 9, a few hours later, she called the family member and admitted to killing her three-year-old daughter, telling them the eight-year-old would also die, and threatening to take her own life. 

The charge of a felony first degree murder with a weapon makes her eligible for the death penalty.  

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