Kristin LaBrie Sentenced to 8 – 10 years on April 15, 2011 by Judge Richard Welch. She will be separated from her remaining son for the duration of his youth and longer. This is not justice.
Kristen A. LaBrie was found guilty on all counts — attempted murder, permitting serious bodily injury to a disabled person, permitting substantial injury to a child and reckless endangerment of a child, said Steve O’Connell, spokesman for the Essex District Attorney’s Office. The Lawrence Massachusetts jury agreed with the Assistant DA’s argument that withholding chemotherapy medications from her autistic son who had non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma caused her son to die of leukemia in 2009. The defense attorney admitted that LaBrie knowingly withheld her son’s medications, but said she did so only because of their painful side effects.
On the stand in her own defense 38 year old Kristin LaBrie testified that her son Jeremy was diagnosed with autism at age two. ”We definitely had autism plus something they called pervasive developmental delay.” With one hand resting on the judge’s bench, the other gesturing she said, “The care was constant. Whatever went in for a feeding came out, projectile. It was formula after formula after formula for a while.”
LaBrie told the jury that she followed the instructions from her son’s doctors for the first four phases of treatment but stopped giving her son the medications during the final phase because she “didn’t want to make him any sicker.”
Lawyers batted the fact around that she had been treated for depression with Celexa and saw a social worker.
Dr. Frederic Krell, a psychologist called by defense lawyer Kevin James, testified that LaBrie, 38, was a “depressed person who was overwhelmed with having to cope with a significantly impaired child who now had a life-threatening illness.”
“She was largely alone, psychologically, and she had a history of difficulty asking for help and getting services, and as far as I know was struggling to keep her son in school,” Krell continued.
But prosecutor Kate MacDougall — who had only just been given Krell’s final report yesterday morning by the defense — questioned the basis for those conclusions, getting Krell to admit that LaBrie didn’t fit the legal definition of mentally ill.
Kevin James, the defense attorney, said his client made a mistake, but that it was not a criminal act, arguing she never had the malice or willful intent to cause harm to her child.
“Ms. LaBrie was unable to put chemotherapy medication into her son’s body. Her coping and ability to do what she had to do started to wane. The Commonwealth wants to take this tragic set of circumstances and turn it into a criminal prosecution.’’
What no one seems to accept is the government (the entire USA and each of the 50 states) has stepped over the line. They are turning decisions parents make about their children’s medical care into criminal acts and limiting their choices in the name of looking out for those who cannot care for themselves. It is time to change the law. As an adult we are allowed to decide for ourselves when enough is enough, or to refuse certain medications. But children, nor their parents are allowed this basic right.