This is definitely a sad story, but it kinda makes you angry at the same time.
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.
“I am remorseful for my actions and I wish I could have done things differently,” LaBrie told the judge in a courtroom packed with sobbing family members and friends of both LaBrie and the boy’s father, Eric Fraser.
“If I could do it differently, I would, because I certainly miss my son, and I think about him every day and I wish he could be with me and my family,” she said.
Jeremy Fraser was severely autistic, nonverbal and developmentally delayed. He was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma shortly after he turned 7 in 2006.
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.
Many of LaBrie’s family attempted to plead with the judge to be lenient on her:
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.
Do you think that the sentence the judge handed down was fair, too harsh, or not harsh enough???