A woman who wrote for years about her five-year-old son’s unceasing health problems was convicted earlier today of poisoning the child to death by force-feeding him with heavy concentrations of sodium through his stomach tube.
After close to three days of deliberations, a jury in the New York suburbs found 27-year-old Lacey Spears, of Scottsville, Kentucky, guilty of second-degree murder in the January 2014 death of five-year-old Garnett-Paul Spears.
The defense depicted Spears as a caring mother and her son as sickly, however the prosecution argued that the mother loved the attention her son’s illness brought her. A video footage showed her twice taking the child into a hospital bathroom with a connector tube and the boy suffering afterward. (Scroll down for the video.)
1. Lacey Spears, 27, pictured here in court today, was found guilty of killing her five-year-old son by poisoning him with salt.
In her closing arguments on Thursday, Assistant District Attorney Patricia Murphy said:
The motive is bizarre, the motive is scary, but it exists. She apparently craved the attention of her family, her friends, her co-workers and most particularly the medical profession.
Murphy suggested that Spears ultimately killed her son because she feared he would begin telling people that she was making him ill. The mother’s actions were “nothing short of torture”, Murphy stated.
Multiple sources report that the defendant showed little emotion as she received the guilty verdict, but her attorney later said that Spears was shocked by the jury’s decision and plans to appeal the conviction.
2. Spears showed little emotion as the jury returned a guilty verdict. Her defense team said she was in shock.
3. Garnett-Paul Spears (left) died in January 2014 after prosecutors say his mother (right) force-fed him salt through his stomach tube.
Spears’ sentencing is scheduled for April 8. She is facing 15 years to life in prison.
Several doctors testified during the trial that there was no medical explanation for the spike in the boy’s sodium levels which led to his death.
However, defense lawyer Stephen Riebling said that there was no “direct evidence” of a crime and produced witnesses who testified that his client seemed devastated by her son’s death.
Riebling said that the hospital security video had been edited to exclude tender scenes between his client and her son, including a scene where Spears puts two pairs of socks on the boy.
4. Prosecutors argued that the 27-year-old mother made her child sick to get attention from her friends, family and co-workers.
Riebling asked the jury:
If she’s planning on killing him, why does she care whether his feet are cold?
Spears’ attorney also said that the hospital itself was negligent and dehydrated the child — an assertion strenuously denied by Murphy who called it “just ridiculous”.
The evidence that was presented included two feeding bags, which were found in Spears’ apartment and were heavily tainted with salt and included one which the defendant asked a friend to hide.
5. The defense insisted that Spears, pictured here on February 3 weeping in court, seemed devastated by her son’s death.
One of the bags found in Spears’ apartment contained the equivalent of 69 McDonald’s salt packets, according to the testimony of a forensic toxicologist.
Also presented as evidence were many of the defendant’s posts on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and a blog, as well as her online research into the dangers of sodium in children.
Spears, who is an Alabama native, had been living with her son in Chestnut Ridge, New York, when the boy died. She moved to Kentucky after his death and was living there at the time she was arrested.
Curiously, there was no mention during the trial of a disorder known as Munchausen by proxy (MBP), which is a behavioral pattern in which a caretaker secretly harms those in their care to win sympathy. Some experts have noted that the disorder fits Spears’ actions.
6. A mother found guilty of poisoning 5-year-old son — A FOX News report.
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