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."
Kristen LaBrie was convicted of attempted murder Tuesday for withholding at least five months of at-home chemotherapy treatments for her son, Jeremy Fraser. The boy died at age 9 in 2009.
LaBrie, 38, wept and apologized before Judge Richard Welch handed down her punishment in Lawrence Superior Court.
His oncologist testified that she told LaBrie that her son's cancer had a cure rate of about 85 percent to 90 percent under an intensive, two-year treatment plan that included doses of chemotherapy to be given during hospital stays and clinic visits as well as at-home medications LaBrie was supposed to administer at home.
LaBrie testified that she largely followed doctor's orders during the first four phases of his treatment. But she acknowledged that she stopped giving him the at-home medications during the final phase of treatment because she could not bear to see how much pain and suffering the side effects of the medication caused him.
The boy's doctor said she discovered in February 2008 that LaBrie had not filled five months of prescriptions and that Jeremy's cancer had returned as leukemia.
LaBrie testified in her own defense, saying she did not give her son at least five months of chemotherapy medications because the side effects made him so sick she was afraid the treatments would kill him. LaBrie called her son "very, very fragile" and said she didn't think he could withstand any more chemotherapy.
You know what's even more chilling to me? That the state can send someone away to prison for deciding how to care for their child! Who is the real criminal here? How dare they. Put that judge in ONE DAY of her shoes and I guarantee you he'd be singing a different tune. Attempted murder? Honestly, does the judge and jury legitimately believe this mother was purposefully trying to murder her son? She has already suffered enough with her child's death, and these robots decide to send her to prison for ten years.
Assistant District Attorney Kate MacDougall acknowledged that LaBrie had a difficult time caring for Jeremy alone and watching him suffer horrible side effects from chemotherapy. But she said the jury found that whatever her difficult circumstances were, she "made a decision to harm Jeremy. ... She intended to kill him."
"At the end of the day this was just child abuse ... she withheld from this child intentionally his chance for a cure," MacDougall said.
Who are they to speculate such things? Because they know ALL about what she was going through!
LaBrie's older son, Matthew, 18, wrote a letter to the judge asking for leniency.Here's what I think. I think that judge and every single person on the jury who voted 'guilty' should be sent away to prison for LIFE. Yes, that is real justice here. This is appalling to me. She made a mistake. This is a mother making a decision that SHE believes is in the best interest of her child, NOT the state! Who are they to judge? These fools in their ivory tower of self thought moral superiority are the criminals in this case. We live in a cruel, cruel society to allow this to happen.
"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?"
I hope the judge and jury sleep well at night knowing they sent an already grieving mother to prison for ten years of her life.