WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – Lacey Spears, 27, of Scottsville, Kentucky has been charged with second-degree murder following the death of her sickly 5-year-old son, Garnett-Paul Spears, whom prosecutors said was killed by sodium poisoning.
Spears was alleged to have force-fed her son with heavy concentrations of salt through his stomach tube, and prosecutors equally found she had constantly blogged on personal blogs and complained on social media about her son’s constant illness.
Hospital videos showed Spears taking her son twice into a bathroom with a connector tube and then the boy’s health deteriorating afterward. According to Assistant District Attorney Patricia Murphy, “The motive is bizarre, the motive is scary, but it exists,” she argued. “She apparently craved the attention of her family, her friends, her co-workers and most particularly the medical profession.”
But defense argued that Spears is a caring mother as can be seen in the hospital videos even though they have been edited to portray her as evil. Defense lawyer Stephen Riebling stated that there was no “direct evidence” that Spears committed any crime, and her devastation following the incident was apparent enough to everyone who knew her.
However, several doctors testified that they could not medically explain the spike of sodium in Garnett’s system that led to his death. Two feeding bags discovered in Spears’ apartment were heavily concentrated with salt, plus another that Spears asked her friend to hide for her. According to a forensic toxicologist that testified in court, one of the bags had salt equivalent to 69 McDonald’s salt packets in it.
The prosecution found that Spears had often posted on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and a personal blog about her son’s woes, while all the time researching into the dangers of sodium in children. While some experts believe that Spears was suffering from Munchausen by proxy, a disorder that makes caregivers to clandestinely harm children in order to win public sympathy, this possibility was never mentioned in court.