Mom Convicted of Denying Autistic Son Cancer Drugs
Kristen LaBrie was found guilty on Tuesday by a Massachusetts court of attempted murder, permitting serious bodily injury to a disabled person, permitting substantial injury to a child and reckless endangerment of a child.
The crime? She withheld chemotherapy drugs from her 9-year-old autistic son who later died of cancer.
Kristen LaBrie's autistic son was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in 2006, and by February 2008, was still undergoing chemotherapy treatments.
During her testimony, Kristen LaBrie told the jury that she stopped administering the drugs and filling her son's prescriptions because she felt that the side effects would only make him sicker, reports Reuters.
However, LaBrie clearly knew it was wrong, going so far as to actively mislead doctors into believing she was providing the pills, notes ABC News.
Eventually doctors found out, and according to Reuters, the boy was immediately moved into his father's care.
Even though the child died a year late, Kristen LaBrie was only convicted of attempted murder.
It's unclear why this disconnect exists, but it might be related to the fact that it is impossible to prove that withholding the medication contributed to her son's death. Without that causal link, murder would be quite difficult to prove.
However, prosecutors were still able to show that she intentionally engaged in conduct that she knew would result in likely death, which is enough for an attempt charge.
LaBrie is still awaiting sentencing, but under Massachusetts law, the attempted murder charge will net her up to 20 years in jail.
- Jury convicts Mass. mom who withheld cancer meds (Seattle Times)
- Attempt (FindLaw)
- Child Abuse (FindLaw)
- Who Makes Health Care Decisions for Your Child? (FindLaw's Law & Daily Life)
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