Mommy Blogger Found Guilty of Poisoning Son for Social Media Attention
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The upstate New York mother accused of poisoning her son for attention on social media was found guilty of second-degree murder on Monday.
Lacey Spears’ son, five-year-old Garnett, died on January 23, 2014, due to complications from suspiciously high levels of sodium in his bloodstream.
Last summer, Spears pleaded not guilty to charges of murder and manslaughter. But after a nearly yearlong investigation, which involved combing through tens of thousands of Spears’ social media posts, traveling through five states, and interviewing 150 people, investigators were convinced otherwise.
Garnett spent much of his short life in and out of hospitals, while Spears, 27, documented his health problems on her personal blog, Twitter, and Facebook. Police say it was a ploy for attention. Investigators say she may have poisoned Garnett at least twice.
Days before his death, Spears took Garnett into the hospital’s private bathroom and injected a fatal dose of sodium into the feeding tube in his stomach, according to Assistant District Attorney Doreen Lloyd.
Prosecutors argued there was no possible explanation for the high sodium levels that caused Garnett’s death other than salt poisoning, saying Spears did it for attention and called it “nothing short of torture.” They suspect Spears has a rare psychological disorder, Münchausen by proxy, in which a parent makes her child sick to get attention or sympathy.
“It was a bit nerve-wracking at the end,” Westchester Detective Daniel Carfi told the Journal News after the verdict was read. “(From) the beginning of this case, we were fighting for Garnett, for some kind of justification, some kind of justice for him—and we saw that today.”
Spears’ defense lawyer maintains that the cause of Garnett’s death “is still a mystery.” Second-degree murder carries a minimum penalty of 15 years in prison, but prosecutors intend to seek the maximum sentence of 25 years.