• Today
    March 31

  • 12:47 PM

Mom convicted of killing son, 5, by poisoning him with salt

AP,

Added 02 March 2015

lacey-spears

Defendant Lacey Spears brushes her hair back during the opening statements portion of her murder trial at the Westchester County Courthouse in White Plains, N.Y., in this Feb. 3, 2015 file photo. (AP picture)

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (AP) - A woman who blogged for years about her son's constant health woes was convicted Monday of poisoning him to death by force-feeding heavy concentrations of sodium through his stomach tube.

A jury in the New York suburbs found Lacey Spears, of Scottsville, Kentucky, guilty of second-degree murder in the death last year of 5-year-old Garnett-Paul Spears.

The defence portrayed Spears as a caring mother and her son as sickly, but the prosecution argued that Spears revelled in the attention Garnett's illness brought her. Video showed Spears twice taking the boy into a hospital bathroom with a connector tube and the boy suffering afterward.

"The motive is bizarre, the motive is scary, but it exists," Assistant District Attorney Patricia Murphy said in closing arguments Thursday. "She apparently craved the attention of her family, her friends, her co-workers and most particularly the medical profession."

She suggested that Spears, 27, eventually killed the boy because she feared he would start telling people she was making him ill. Her actions were "nothing short of torture," she said.

Several doctors testified that there was no medical explanation for the spike in Garnett's sodium levels that led to his death.

But defence lawyer Stephen Riebling said there was no "direct evidence" of a crime and drew out from witnesses that Spears seemed devastated by her son's death. He said the hospital video was edited to eliminate tender scenes between mother and son, including one where Spears puts two pairs of socks on Garnett.

"If she's planning on killing him, why does she care whether his feet are cold?" he asked the jury.

He also said the hospital was negligent and dehydrated the boy - an assertion Murphy called "just ridiculous."

The evidence included two feeding bags found in Spears' apartment that were heavily tainted with salt, including one that Spears asked a friend to hide. One bag had the equivalent of 69 McDonald's salt packets in it, a forensic toxicologist testified.

Also in evidence were many of Spears' postings on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and a blog and her online research into the dangers of sodium in children.

Spears, an Alabama native, was living with her son in Chestnut Ridge, New York, when he died. She moved to Kentucky afterward and was living there when she was arrested.

There was no mention at the trial of a disorder known as Munchausen by proxy in which caretakers secretly harm children to win sympathy. Some experts believe that disorder fits Spears' actions.

JOIN THE DISCUSSION

Dos and Donts


Welcome to our discussion forum here on nationnews.com. We encourage lively debate, but we also urge you to take note of the following:

  • Stay on topic – This helps keep the thread focused on the discussion at hand. If you would like to discuss another topic, look for a relevant article.
  • Be respectful – Meeting differences of opinion with civil discussion encourages multiple perspectives and a positive commenting environment.
  • Do not type in capitals – In addition to being considered “shouting” it is also difficult to read.
  • All comments will be moderated – Given the volume of comments each day, this may take some time. So please be patient.
  • We reserve the right to remove comments – Comments that we find to be abusive, spam, libellous, hateful, off-topic or harassing may be removed.
  • Reproduction of comments – Some of your comments may be reproduced on the website or in our daily newspapers. We will use the handle, not your email address.
  • Do not advertise – Please contact our Advertising Department.
  • Contact our Online Editor if you have questions or concerns.
  • Read our full Commenting Policy and Terms of Use.
comments powered by Disqus

POLL

Was the national curfew implemented too late?

Yes
No

FRONT COVER OF TODAY'S NEWSPAPER

CARTOON

INSTAGRAM