A Minnesota woman who squeezed her mother so hard that she eventually killed her will spend at least a decade behind bars.
Cassandra Dusold, 35, was convicted in August of second-degree murder in the death of her mother, Dorothy Dusold. On Monday, she was sentenced to serve more than 10 years in prison.
As previously reported, Dusold allegedly admitted to police that in January 2022, she squeezed her mother, who was 69 years old, “like a python” until she was unconscious. She reportedly claimed at the time that her mother attacked her but quickly admitted that didn’t actually happen.
Dusold allegedly told police at the time that she put her mother in a chokehold and “squeezed like a python so hard that it made her ribs hurt.”
According to court filings, Cassandra Dusold was convicted after a stipulated trial of one count of unintentionally murdering her mother; a first-degree murder charge was dismissed.
“On January 19, 2022, [Dusold] used her arms to choke her mother, Dorothy Dusold, to the point of unconsciousness,” Scott County Judge Mark Vandelist wrote in a Sept. 15 court filing. “As a result of Defendant’s actions, Dorothy Dusold died days later.”
On Monday, Vandelist sentenced Dusold to 128 months in prison.
Prior to sentencing, Dusold’s lawyers had argued that her history of mental health conditions — including psychosis, paranoia, and delusions — meant that she was unaware of the wrongness of her actions.
Vandelist disagreed, and found that Dusold was indeed mentally competent and understood the wrongness of her actions.
“It is clear that Defendant is mentally ill,” Vandelist wrote in a Sept. 15 order. “Defendant has suffered from mental illness for many years that may have been much more severe than she, or anyone else, realized due to her symptoms being primarily internal.”
Dusold’s “severe mental illness,” however, doesn’t necessarily support the conclusion that she didn’t know the “moral wrongfulness” of her actions, the judge said. The fact that Dusold was able to “lie coherently and consistently about what had occurred” shortly after she attacked her mother, for example, indicated that she knew that what she had done was wrong.
“Defendant also took action to hide evidence that she was the attacker,” Vandelist also noted. “While on the phone with 911, Defendant put on a sweatshirt to cover up the scratches on her arms given to Defendant by her mother during the attack. She kept this sweatshirt on for hours while in the presence of law enforcement officers. She eventually took off the sweatshirt but not until she had told officers the truth about attacking her mother.”
According to Vandelist’s order, Dusold will get 622 days of credit for time served.