LAWRENCE, Mass. — A woman who withheld potentially life-saving medications from her autistic, cancer-stricken son was sentenced Friday to eight to 10 years in prison by a judge who said her actions "really do chill one's soul."
The judge expressed sympathy for LaBrie, saying she was placed "in an extremely trying and exhausting situation" as a single mother with financial troubles raising a severely autistic boy. He said the cancer diagnosis added to her burden and acknowledged she was under "tremendous pressures."
The sentence was higher than the 5 to 7 1/2 years called for under nonbinding state sentencing guidelines but significantly less than the 15 to 17 years sought by prosecutors
In October 2006, 9-year-old Jeremy [sic -- he was 6 years old at that point, since he died at age 9 in 2009) was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, but doctors gave him an 85 percent to 90 percent chance of recovery, MacDougall said during the arraignment in 2009. Large doses of chemotherapy were given to the boy in the hospital, and his cancer went into remission.
His mother was given prescriptions for medications he was to be given at home. During the arraignment, MacDougall said LaBrie repeatedly failed to pick up prescriptions but led doctors to believe she was getting them filled, even asking at one point for a liquid version of the medication because her son was having difficulty swallowing pills.
"Miss LaBrie never expressed any misgivings about the treatment," MacDougall said.
In February 2008, after one of Jeremy's doctors called LaBrie's pharmacy and learned she had not been filling prescriptions, LaBrie said the pharmacy must have made a mistake, MacDougall said.
It was at that point that doctors learned the boy's cancer had returned as leukemia and was no longer treatable with chemotherapy, she said. The boy died in 2009.
Quote:f the state is willing to punish the mother for making the decision she did then the state shoud take responsibility for the lives of such children when parents are no longer in a state to do so.
That happens -- the state takes over it's called therapeutic foster care.
LaBrie's older son, Matthew, 18, wrote a letter to the judge asking for leniency.
"My mother was nothing but unbelievably kind, caring and completely devoted to Jeremy in every aspect of her life," he wrote.
He described his mother sitting by Jeremy's bedside while he was treated for cancer at Massachusetts General Hospital.
"Something like that takes a toll on a person and after all that, could anybody so easily sit by and watch while a cure is making a child feel worse?"
Jeremy's uncle, Andrew Fraser, spoke to the judge before sentencing, saying he wanted to represent Jeremy and Jeremy's father, Eric, who was killed in a motorcycle accident seven months after Jeremy died.
Andrew Fraser said his brother would have asked for a "fair and just" punishment for LaBrie, despite the contentious relationship they had.
"The jury has spoken and nothing you can do will bring us back my nephew and my brother," he said.
"Somewhere, they are playing ball together and watching over all of us." Yahoo