SALEM (CBS/AP) — A mother convicted of withholding potentially life-saving medications from her cancer-stricken son will not be going back to prison.
Kristen LaBrie, 44, spent five years behind bars after being convicted in 2011 of attempted murder, assault and battery and reckless child endangerment in the death of her 9-year-old son in 2009.
She was granted a new trial by the state’s highest court in March, which ruled her defense attorney was ineffective, and she was released on bail–but Wednesday, she gave up the right to that new trial.
At a change of plea hearing Wednesday in Salem Superior Court, LaBrie pleaded guilty to attempted murder in the death of her son Jeremy Fraser. The boy, who was profoundly autistic, was diagnosed with a form of non-Hodgkins lymphoma at age 7.
LaBrie was convicted of attempted murder two years later, and sentenced to 8-10 years behind bars.
Prosecutors argued that LaBrie was a bitter and resentful single mom who at best shirked her responsibility, and at worst wanted to get rid of her sickly son.
She said she didn’t give her son the chemotherapy drugs because of the terrible side effects. In April, the state’s Supreme Court tossed out her attempted murder conviction, faulting her original attorney for not tapping a pediatric cancer expert who would have testified that many parents don’t fully comply with their children’s medication regimen for all sorts of reasons.
Speaking to WBZ-TV’s Anna Meiler before court, Labrie said this decision saddens her, but that it’s something she has to do for closure.
“She’s taken responsibility,” said her attorney, John Morris. “She’s not the same person she was when this all happened … she spent five years in state prison thinking about it and doing things that bettered herself, so I think it was time for her in her mind to move on.”
In prison, LaBrie earned a college degree.
Essex County District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett said his office was glad to get justice for little Jeremy.
“This case was always about one thing and one thing only, and that was Jeremy,” said Blodgett. “Justice has been served today with the defendant admitting her guilt, and what she did and didn’t do in the care of her child.”
The prosecutor recommended Wednesday that Labrie be sentenced to time served, and the judge agreed.
“We’re satisfied that the sentence was fair, balanced, reasonable, and it was tempered with mercy,” said Blodgett. “He was not a footnote. He was a child. And it was our job to speak for him, and be his voice.”
She left court without saying a word Wednesday, now free to go on with her life–but Morris said she’ll live with what she did for the rest of her life.
“Based on what she’s learned in the past five years while she was in state prison, I think she can have closure,” he said. “Will this ever leave her mind? I don’t think so.”
(TM and © Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Carl Stevens Reports