Mother Convicted of Second-degree Murder in 5-Year-Old Son’s Death

Lacey Spears closes her eyes as she listens to her guilty verdict Monday,  March 2, 2015, at Westchester County Courthouse in White Plains, N.Y. (PHOTO CREDIT: Joe Larese, The (Westchester County, N.Y.) Journal News)
Lacey Spears closes her eyes as she listens to her guilty verdict Monday, March 2, 2015, at Westchester County Courthouse in White Plains, N.Y. (PHOTO CREDIT: Joe Larese, The (Westchester County, N.Y.) Journal News)

Jurors on Monday convicted a mother, who chronicled her 5-year-old son’s illnesses, of second-degree murder in her son’s death.

Lacey Spears showed little reaction as the guilty verdict was read in the Westchester County Courthouse in White Plains, N.Y.

The second-degree murder charge was the most serious one available to the jury. They also had the option of first-degree manslaughter. Second-degree murder carries a minimum penalty of 15 years to life in prison, and a maximum of 25 years to life.

A judge set her sentencing for April 8.

Defense lawyer Stephen Riebling said Spears was shocked.

“We are disappointed with the verdict that was rendered in this case,” said Riebling. “It is our client’s intention to appeal the decision.”

Speaking to reporters, he maintained that “it is still a mystery” as to what caused Garnett’s death.

Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore said her office would ask for the maximum penalty at sentencing.

During a news conference Monday afternoon, DiFiore said Ramapo police and Westchester County police “put together a first-rate case.”

If the defense appeals, “We are very confident this conviction will be upheld,” DiFiore said.

Prosecutors had argued that there was no possible explanation for the high sodium levels that caused Garnett Spears’ death last year other than salt deliberately introduced into his feeding tube by his mother. They said she did it for attention, and called it “nothing short of torture.”

The defense had contended that Spears, 27, was a doting mother being tried on sketchy evidence. Spears’ lawyers suggested it was Nyack Hospital’s treatment of the boy that was to blame for his death on Jan. 23, 2014, at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital in Valhalla, N.Y.

The trial lasted for 14 days. Jurors received the case late Thursday when they began deliberations. They deliberated all day Friday and resumed Monday morning.

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SOURCE: USA Today, Lee Higgins

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