SALEM, Mass. — A Massachusetts woman who withheld cancer medications that doctors said could have saved her autistic son’s life was freed Wednesday after pleading guilty to attempted murder and sentenced to time served.
Kristen LaBrie, 44, was sentenced to time already served at a change of plea hearing in Salem Superior Court that ended the decade-long case. She was convicted in 2011 of the same charge as well as assault and battery and reckless child endangerment, and spent five years behind bars.
But the state’s highest court in March granted her a new trial on the attempted murder charge after ruling that her trial attorney was ineffective because he failed to consult an independent oncologist to try to rebut the prosecution’s claim that LaBrie withheld her son’s medication because she wanted to kill him.
The Supreme Judicial Court also threw out the assault and battery charge and upheld the reckless endangerment charge.
She was released from prison in April.
Her son, Jeremy Fraser, was diagnosed with a form of non-Hodgkins lymphoma at age 7 and died at age 9 in 2009.
LaBrie, of Salem, did not speak to reporters after Wednesday’s hearing, but her lawyer said it was time to move on.
“She’s going to have to live with this for the rest of her life,” said John Morris, who was not her trial attorney.
LaBrie was sentenced to eight to 10 years in prison after her conviction.
Testifying in her own defense, the single mother said she largely followed doctor’s orders at first, but acknowledged that the stopped giving him the at-home medications because she couldn’t bear to see how he suffered from the side effects, which she thought would kill him.
LaBrie was divorced from Jeremy’s father, Eric Fraser, who died in a motorcycle crash just a few months after his son.
Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett said Wednesday the case was always about justice for Jeremy.
“We are satisfied that the sentence was fair, balanced, reasonable, and was tempered with mercy,” he said.